Leveraging new sources of data for a better understanding of development challenges

The Guide to Data Innovation for Development provides step-by-step guidance for development practitioners to leverage new sources of data or non-traditional data sources and methods, to gain a more nuanced understanding of development challenges. The guide builds on successful case trials and walks users through the steps of jump-starting a data innovation project, from the design phase through the creation of a proof-of-concept.


Innovation and Learning


Data and Analytics



Integration Tools - Assessing SDG Progress and Alignment - Co-creation, Collaboration and Engagement


Guidelines and diagnostics

Country case


The Government of Botswana is the biggest supplier of essential services in the country. However, structural constraints on institutions, low quality data, limited technical capacities and insufficient investments in data inhibit reporting of the quality of services offered– and thereby review of SDG 16 on effective, accountable and transparent institutions. That is why UNDP and the Data-Pop Alliance supported the country to use non-traditional data sources and methods to gain a better understanding of service delivery. Using Facebook as the main data source due to its popularity and accessibility among the public, an algorithm was developed to collect frequently used words on the platform to map trending concerns among citizens. The more a word was used, the larger the visualisation of the word, enabling quick data collection of major challenges across services. The initiative showed that the public was more responsive to social media than to traditional methods in terms of providing feedback on public services, and helped generate a more comprehensive picture of the state of service delivery in the country.