UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


IIPP and UNDP publish new report on Covid-19 and the need for dynamic public sector capabilities

10 May 2021

IIPP and UNDP report highlights the importance of investing in a combination of both long-term capacities and dynamic capabilities in the public sector, including ability to meaningfully interact with other value creators in society such as private sector and citizen innovators.

UNDP paper

Download the report

UCL’s Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) has partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to launch a new insightful report on lessons that can be learnt from across the globe on countries’ responses to Covid-19.

The new report was launched at a recent event held by UNDP’s Achim Steiner, along with IIPP’s founding director Professor Mariana Mazzucato,  Dr. Dipu Moni, the Minister of Education of Bangladesh and Dr. Kodjo Mensah-Abrampa, the DG of National Development Planning Commision, Ghana.

The paper, building on IIPP's path-breaking research on the dynamic capabilities of public sector, draws on examples from a wide range of developing countries from the state of Kerala in India to Vietnam and Togo to show that many countries have handled the Covid-19 emergency quite successfully.

The paper was well received internationally, including an address from the Colombian President, Iván Duque Márquez, who welcomed the insights from the report and agreed that governments have an opportunity to strengthen institutions and design innovative public policies and programmes, as stated in the publication.

Professor Mariana Mazzucato, Director at UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, said:

"Public sector dynamic capabilities cannot be conjured up overnight. Governments need to nurture such capabilities and build them in-house rather than outsource key functions. Many countries in the global South show us how to do this by developing digital infrastructures, procurement capabilities and building on citizen innovation. This report is the beginning of a longer collaboration between IIPP and UNDP, focusing on helping governments to build dynamic capabilities."

Achim Steiner, Administrator at United Nations Development Programme, said:

"While governments are often good at building long-term and stable public services infrastructure, the pandemic response has shown that some governments excel at agile, dynamic responses. At the UNDP we believe governments can and need to do both, invest in long-term stability and transparency and build capabilities for agile response and proactive shaping of policy responses. I am looking forward to our continued collaboration with IIPP in working with governments in the global South."

Read the report and watch the launch event here.
Colombian President, Iván Duque Márquez welcomes this new report in his speech, watch here
Learn more about IIPP's Master of Public Administration which is focussed on helping global leaders develop the dynamic capabilities to actively co-create and shape markets, not only to "fix" them.