The Dela accelerator, co-created by IKEA Social Entrepreneurship and Ashoka, has empowered over 45 social entrepreneurs worldwide to achieve systems change by tackling social challenges at their core. Through working with collaborators such as Microsoft and Accenture, the accelerator has continually evolved over the past five years, driving positive change in communities around the globe.
Joining forces for change
Established in 2019, UNDP Accelerator Labs share our passion for collective intelligence. With a presence across 115 countries through 91 Labs, they bring an extensive network and invaluable expertise in learning from complex development challenges. Recognising our shared goals and synergies, we are excited to welcome UNDP's Accelerator Labs as our knowledge partner.
"This collaboration builds upon each organisation’s networks,” says Stefannia Russo, Programme Lead at IKEA Social Entrepreneurship. "This is a unique opportunity to harness the potential of collective intelligence by bringing together innovators from across the world who are tackling social and environmental challenges to learn from each other. We’re excited to have UNDP Accelerator Labs onboard and by joining forces, we hope to foster innovative thinking and action that can unlock the potential for positive change."
We aim to connect our networks and facilitate knowledge exchange through this collaboration. Our first topic of exploration focuses on the intersection of informality and circularity. Leveraging the Dela accelerator platform, we will bring together Ashoka social entrepreneur fellows, IKEA co-workers, UNDP's Accelerator Labs team members and other knowledge holders to address the learning question: "How Informality Shapes the Circular Economy?"
The circular economy — which emphasises the regeneration and reuse of resources — holds tremendous promise for building resilient and sustainable societies. Simultaneously, the informal economy — which comprises a significant portion of global economic activity — represents an immense potential for inclusive growth and poverty reduction. By unlocking tacit knowledge at the intersection of these two domains, we aim to uncover insights and solutions that can drive meaningful change.
Inspiring action through learning
Campfire conversations, a method being tested by UNDP Accelerator Labs, are at the heart of our exploration. These facilitated discussions will bring together diverse participants to engage in meaningful dialogue, collaborative problem-solving, and knowledge-sharing to address critical issues and explore synergies. Through a series of campfire conversations exploring the intersection of circularity and informality, the collaboration aims to contextualise knowledge, capture insights, develop a knowledge product, and socialise that knowledge. By doing so, we can inform strategic planning, promote urgency, and inspire action in pursuing a circular economy that benefits all.
"This partnership is a key part of the Accelerator Labs’ Research and Development focus on the informal economy and help us validate our hunch that the millions of women and men working informally in the Global South are creating value from what we consider waste,” says Gina Lucarelli, Team Leader at the UNDP Accelerator Labs. “Through this collaboration we want to test out our hypothesis and learn together about the connection between circular and informal economies to help shape the supply chains and policies of tomorrow.”
The first campfire conversation will be hosted at the 2023 Dela Summit, currently underway in Älmhult, Sweden. The Summit brings together the participating Dela social entrepreneurs, IKEA mentors, strategy partners, learning partners and other experts, providing the perfect platform to gain practical insights and foundational knowledge on which to design the following campfire conversations.
Dela, which means "to share" in Swedish, symbolises the programme's commitment to fostering collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and exchanging innovative ideas. The addition of the UNDP Accelerator Labs further enhances its capacity and reflects a shared dedication to social innovation and learning.
"At Ashoka, we believe in the power of social innovation to drive positive change," says Stella Printezi, Programme Lead at Ashoka. "The intersection between the circular and informal economies presents unique challenges and opportunities, and we look forward to exploring this topic further within the context of social innovation."
The collaboration between the Dela Accelerator and UNDP Accelerator Labs is an exciting opportunity to deepen our understanding of various topics, starting with how informality shapes the circular economy. By fostering an exchange of knowledge and experiences, we aim to create a better future for individuals and communities worldwide. Together, we can harness the power of collective intelligence and pave the way for a more inclusive and sustainable world.