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Case Study – United Nations Development Programme

Quick Facts:


When UNDP decided to build a Knowledge Exchange Platform to leverage on the knowledge and experience of its development practitioners towards achievement of UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG), it turned to InfoAxon. We helped them create ‘Solution Exchange (SE)’ to connect broad range of stakeholders with common interests and tap the vast knowledge pool to address development challenges at the grass root levels.

Customer Name : United Nations

Industry: International Development

Geography: Global

Business Need: Over the years UNDP felt the need to develop and share knowledge from its previous experiences among its country offices and headquarters, so as to reap the benefits of the development work that it carries out globally.

UNDP also realized that the knowledge should be shared on a large scale across people ranging from the policy makers to the field workers. It also felt that some of the problems that it encountered in one developing country were similar to the problems it faced in other developing countries.

Solution Title : Knowledge Exchange Portal – ‘Solution Exchange (SE)’

Solution Summary : InfoAxon leveraged its Open Source Platforming expertise to integrate open source products / frameworks together to create a Knowledge Exchange Platform for UN known as ‘Solution Exchange (SE)’.

SE provides a collaborative platform to bring together development practitioners with similar interests (‘Communities of Practices – CoP’) and help them connect, collaborate and share knowledge and experiences for attaining United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – on time and on target.

Distinguishing Features of Solution Exchange: At the core of Solution Exchange is a focus on Facilitation Team dedicated to facilitate sharing of experiential knowledge for people at all stages of the development process for achievement of development results.

Some of the distinguishing features of Solution Exchange are:

  • ‘Knowledge on Demand’: SE provides a searchable ‘Knowledge Repository’ providing access to both documented and tacit knowledge in form of consolidated responses, comparative experiences, postings, documents, links, expert emails etc.
  • Enhancing the ‘Value’ of Mailing Lists: Solution Exchange does not replace existing email lists but adds value to them by integrating the mailing list with a searchable centralized repository.
  • Creation & sharing of Knowledge Product ‘Consolidated Reply’: Consolidated Reply is a brief but comprehensive composite of all available documented and tacit knowledge, experiences and resources (links to experts, organization, documentations, websites, expert emails etc.) on a topic.
  • Cross Posted Query: In Solution Exchange, the ‘cross posted’ query, poses the same question to more than one community, offering exchanges between the communities on how to best address the issues / problems and mitigate risks.
  • A Platform enabling Transferability: SE is not a point s/w implementation but a Platform which is readily configurable to enable any country with a knowledge platform connecting development stakeholders.

Open Source Stack

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux
  • Liferay Portal framework
  • Content Repository
  • Alfresco ECM framework
  • Mailman
  • Apache Tomcat
  • Eclipse, SVN, Tortoise
  • Java, J2EE, JSP, Servlet
  • SVN, Cruise Control, Ant
  • Custom Exception Handling, Logging (using Log4J), Custom Audit Framework,
  • MySQL

Value Delivered:

Solution Exchange is currently aimed for 20 Asia Pacific countries with countries like India, Bhutan, Thailand, Cambodia, and Pacific Island already on board. Bangladesh and Philippines are in launching mode.

SE is delivering following benefits to its members and stake-holders:

  • Moderators can now build and generate communities of practices in minutes which earlier take several hours.
  • Community Knowledge Products and Collaborative efforts have a demonstrable impact on MDG and national development targets.
  • Expands the pool of knowledge on development related topics beyond expert knowledge, to capture ‘experiential knowledge’ not typically documented.
  • Engages a broad range of stakeholders including policy makers, donors, NGOs, government, private sector as well as North-South and South-South collaboration.
  • Building the cross connection between several products, assets, members which was not feasible in earlier mailing list based model.