Support UNICEF Innovations new call for support for VR/AR

REPOST: Our friends at the UNICEF Innovation Fund have released a call for proposals. Deadline is 17 September. Brief summary below, and full posting here: http://unicefstories.org/vr/.

The Innovation Fund allows UNICEF to quickly assess, fund and grow open-source solutions that can improve children’s lives. Financial and technological support is available for companies that can show a strong founding team and a clear path to improving the lives of children.

The UNICEF Innovation Fund is looking for start-ups that are developing and piloting new open source VR/AR solutions. We are looking to make investments in 1) software for authoring or consuming these new realities, 2) platforms and ways providing wider access to that software, 3) platforms and ways providing better tools for content creation (such as a template, workflow, or format), and 4) particular applications of content.

For our next VR/AR cohort of investees we are particularly interested in the following applications of content:

  • Learning
    Teaching people to perform simple tasks, in many languages, with higher retention rates and better motivational levels (examples: how to install a water pump; how to recognize malnutrition in under 5-year-olds; how to teach seamstresses to perform simple procedures). VR/AR also presents new ways of increasing access to experiential learning, including for people with disabilities.
  • Understanding complex environments
    Accessing large amounts of data and deciphering them in a better way. Getting a simple picture from a complex collection of data points (examples: converting history of GIS data points from refugee camps into a VR environment for better planning; improving situational awareness for emergency responders).
  • New ways of storytelling
    Undiscovered ways of using VR/AR to tell a story, especially by bridging cross-cultural gaps and creating a dialogue.

Be daring: Applications to the Fund are accepted on a rolling basis. However, to be considered for the VR/AR-focused cohort, we ask you to submit your application by September 17, 11:59pm EDT.

Are you up to the challenge? Call for proposals: UNVR App

SUMMARY

We believe that virtual reality has the ability to unlock real potential for change. We have already witnessed the positive effects that early UNVR content has had on small groups via targeted screenings, and are now seeking to move our project to scale. That’s why we’re calling for the support of the international creative & tech community!

The UNVR project is seeking the services of an experienced team for the creation of an application that will host 360 video, and eventually room scale virtual reality content from across the UN system. This app will also be an environment to suggest ways to make impact, such as educational curricula, fundraising links, advocacy initiatives, etc.

To apply, please send a proposal to support@sdgactioncampaign.org by 31 August 2017. Extra consideration will be paid to those applications with reduced or pro bono suggestions. Please see the full terms of reference for more details below!

 

BACKGROUND

About Sustainable Development Goals https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs

In September 2015, countries ratified the new Global Sustainable Development Agenda, with the target of creating a better world for people and planet and leaving no one behind. Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent an unprecedented leap forward in the fight against poverty and inequalities, as well as in the struggle for environmental sustainability. The SDGs embody a universal, inclusive and transformative vision of development, which calls upon all Member States to ensure a life of dignity for all, leaving no-one behind. The realization of this agenda will require the existence of sufficient political will and the generation of an enabling environment for citizens to actively engage in the implementation, monitoring and review efforts.

This presents the opportunity for renewed energy for global action to build a more equal and peaceful world. In effort to build global awareness and people’s’ participation in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals between now and 2030, the United Nations SDG Action Campaign is working with innovative partners to capture the attention and imagination of people who might not otherwise be aware of major development issues in their countries or locally.

About the UN SDG Action Campaign http://un.org/sdgaction

The UN SDG Action Campaign is a special initiative of UN Secretary-General, administered by the UN Development Programme and mandated to support the UN system-wide and the Member States on advocacy and public engagement in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. With a proven track record since 2002, it empowers and inspires people across the world to take action in supporting their governments, building multi-stakeholder partnerships and leveraging cutting-edge communication technologies to bridge the gap and ensure a transparent dialogue between world leaders and their constituencies, especially the most marginalized and vulnerable populations. Through virtual reality (UNVR), new and traditional media, and other immersive experiences, the UN SDG Action Campaign leverages new technology and creative storytelling to empower individuals to share personal anecdotes of the SDGs. These initiatives create a bridge of understanding, empathy and collective accountability for building a better world and achieving the SDGs by 2030.

About UNVR http://unvr.org

Since 2015, the United Nations SDG Action Campaign has coordinated the United Nations Virtual Reality Project, using the power of immersive storytelling to inspire viewers towards increased empathy, action and positive social change. The project unites the UN system’s immersive content under one brand and distribution system, allowing the system to mutually leverage each other’s expertise and to collaborate.  The films provide a deeper understanding for those living in the most complex development challenges, catalyzing urgency for those most in danger of being left behind if the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are not met. It highlights those already creating solutions to inspire a sense of shared responsibility and collective action, however small. It will seek to capture the common human experiences that individuals face and showcase UN solutions and results that are both uplifting and enduring. It will illustrate partnerships with government especially at the local level, and show how the UN helps meet national priorities through sustainable development. By sharing these VR experiences the SDG Action Campaign is hoping to inspire change that improves peoples’ lives and creates the world we all want.

Building upon its mandate to amplify the voices of those who are often unheard, particularly the world’s most vulnerable, the project will also work to build partnerships that empower storytellers with sharing their talents by connecting people from the diplomatic, tech and creative world to innovate upon how VR stories are created, shared, and used for impact. Through such partnerships, UNVR aims to ensure a diversity of voices are heard and empowered with the right technology and mentoring. It will also allow people with the power to make a difference have a deeper understanding of their world, and hopefully to act to make a difference.

The Campaign created its first 360’ film in January, 2015. The project targeted decision makers primarily in the first phase of the Virtual Reality Project to spread awareness and create empathy; coordinating a series of exhibitions, workshops, panel discussions, and media moments to further elevate the critical issues it addressed. The films were screened at the most important diplomatic forums to use in high level advocacy and policy impact, shown to decision makers as encouragement for them step into the shoes of their constituencies & take bold actions, creating media attention and momentum.

The films have helped position the UN brand positively, showcasing the organization’s ability to lead in both innovative technologies and storytelling. It has spearheaded a shift in storytelling, amplifying the voices of the most vulnerable people who are in danger of being left behind, while allowing these individuals to tell their own story with dignity. Finally it has allowed the UN system to unite under one platform to share resources and address cross-cutting issues.

Initial findings from testing VR for fundraising have shown the ability to inspire large increases in face-to-face fundraising across a variety of different variables, including: increased propensity to stop and engage; increased inclination to donate after engagement; increased average donation value. Apart from this, it was also found that the VR experience enables access to better locations and venues so that more individuals can witness the content.

The Campaign has ambitious plans to package each of the films in different ways so that they may be used by a variety of stakeholders to continue to raise awareness and for the complex global issues highlighted, especially for young people around the world. In addition to showcasing the VR experience at high-level UN meetings, the SDG Action Campaign is working with partners to create advocacy platforms, awareness and fundraising campaigns. Films will be distributed widely to raise the profile of individual issues with the purpose of helping raise resources and to promote awareness, as we have seen with previous VR documentaries from the UN SDG Action Campaign.  

By partnering with leaders in the field of new technologies for education and communication, the Campaign wishes to develop kits and curricula so that the films may be used in classrooms across the world to promote understanding, empathy and critical thinking for young people – connecting them across the globe. Initial testing has shown that VR is an effective tool to build context, awareness and interest for understanding and discussing real world situations. Through an open sourced app and accompanying curriculum, teachers can use it as a guided learning tool, inspiring brainstorming on ways to create real change.

 

UNVR APP

The UNVR app will allow the UNVR project to move to scale, creating an tool for advocacy, fundraising, and education. The UNVR app will serve as a home for some of this select content and encourage people to take actions related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UN produced films have traditionally lived on third party VR apps. The UNVR app will centralize the content being made into one platform, solving the critical need for a distribution method for the UN System. The app will include action-oriented messaging and links to complimentary campaigns so viewers can directly have an outlet for responding to the content.

In the future we foresee the project working as a distribution platform, and also a catalyzing agent to host educational information and curriculum, and to provide ways to take action on the issues contained within. It will serve as another critical open source tool for citizens around the world to easily contribute and campaign for the SDGs.

Criteria for first phase release

  • Display 360 VR video
  • Integrate audio formats for current content and Integrate dynamic audio formats such as .Mp3 and .tbe
  • Intro screen with multiple tour option, where user can select content/Scene by sliding the screen.
  • White labeled custom branding
  • Content to be categorised using a given taxonomy by UN Agency, region, SDG, topic and custom tags.
  • Keyword search for contents using the taxonomy and tags above.
  • In-app push notification functions.
  • ‘Sticky’ functionality for preferred placement in list for certain contents.
  • Click on title, thumbnail or short description brings audience to title page with more info with credits.
  • Hotspot option to display more info on the scene.
  • Click, GYRO and accelometer sensors based on app capabilities. When user gazes/clicks a link icon it should directly navigate to the content.
  • Users can navigate initially from device without HMD or while in HMD.
  • Universal access through WebVR or similar service.
  • Available on App stores for Google and Apple.
  • Action buttons after each video.
  • App will be dynamic for input from the UN which can be updated with new content from the UN side using specific style guides.
  • VR Analytics: Integrate with a 3rd party app provided by the UN that has normal analytics plus 360′ heat maps; advanced tech for emotional tracking to use head movements to decipher head movements and behavioral insights of users.
  • Supports branching narratives in 360 video.
  • Supports room-scale experiences.
  • Linked to SteamVR, Oculus and other non app or HMD specific storefronts.
  • Live streaming capabilities.
  • Multilingual capability for content and the app.

Criteria for next phase development (wishlist)

  • Supports branching narratives in 360 video
  • Supports room-scale experiences
  • Linked to SteamVR, Oculus and other non app or HMD specific storefronts

Format, branding

Appealing apps to model off of:

  • NY Times App
    • Positive: playlist capabilities, clean layout,
    • Negative: lacks an overarching search matrix of playlists, not easy to find new content in this layout
  • Within
    • Positive: new release notification on thumbnail. Download/stream buttons easy. Not easy to find content in this layout.
    • Negative: no further contextualized information listed
  • UNICEF 360
    • Positive: Donate button. Introductory video about the project, links to About Us Canada to drive towards further info.
    • Negative: lack of overarching info about the project and how it integrates into unicef – fragments UN messaging.

 

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS

  1. At least 3 years of demonstrated experience (sample work available on app stores) in developing apps for hosting content (preferably VR).
  2. Ability to design interactive user experiences that span across multiple app stores.
  3. Previous experience in working with the UN is highly desirable but not required.

 

DELIVERABLES:

  1. A VR app that will be supported for 1 year for maintenance after sign off on delivery by the UN.
  2. The application to be available on Apple, Android, VIVE, Oculus, Daydream and webVR.
  3. All source code and completed documentation handed over to the UN at the sign off off the project.
  4. All 3rd party servers and SAAS apps used  to be purchased (should be included in the financial proposal) for 1 year and credentials handed over to the UN at sign off.
  5. A detailed cost projection for 2nd year based on 3rd party servers and subscriptions used.
  6. Knowledge transfer of how to add new content and make minor UI updates such as adding new logos.

 

TO APPLY

Please send a detailed proposal to support@sdgactioncampaign.org with the subject: UNVR App Proposal by 31 August 2017. Proposals should address the listed qualifications and include a methodology, timeline, and supporting documentation that will help our consideration in choosing the best content proposal. Extra consideration will be paid to those applications with reduced or pro bono suggestions. During launch, a PR strategy will acknowledge the firm that produces the content, and proper accreditation will be paid as agreed.

“SPARK, SCALE, SUSTAIN”: UNDP’s approach to innovation

For a growing number of countries, innovation — spurred by technological advances and increased access to global markets — is a leading driver of economic growth and prosperity. New technologies and an appetite for social, economic, and policy reforms are creating new entry points to address the most stubborn development challenges. Whether it is around technology innovations, alternative finance models or experimentation policy, governments are increasingly realizing that they need to invest in social innovation approaches to better engage with citizens, establish their overall legitimacy and create the next generation of services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The report ‘Spark, Scale, Sustain’ shares UNDP’s approach to innovation: over 40 case studies of innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals in practice and Features on Alternative Finance, Behavioral Insights, Data Innovation and Public Policy Labs.

The innovation initiatives are testing and scaling solutions to address challenges across five areas:

 

A New Narrative for Development: World’s Best News

Decades of negative communication about hunger and hopelessness in developing countries has resulted in a general public attitude that the fight against poverty does not work. We need a new narrative about global development: Nuanced and current knowledge creates hope – and hope creates motivation for action.

World’s Best News is an example of a unique partnership that brings together the UN and more than 100 NGOs and 100 private companies. Since 2010, the independent media platform World’s Best News has published news about progress and solutions to the world’s challenges to the Danish population. All uniting to spread news about progress on a variety of different platforms using the Sustainable Development Goals as the frame and constructive journalism as method. The aim is to connect civil society, business, and the citizens in the pursuit of a more informed and sustainable world.

A collaboration with DSB, the Danish Railways, made it possible to decorate and InterCity train with World’s Best News messages.

Today, World’s Best News is now an international network with sister organizations in Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Finland.

It is deeply ingrained in ‘classical’ journalism to focus on conflicts and problems in society. However, while being critical is essential to all objective reporting, the focus on conflicts often gets out of hand in the mainstream media. Instead, World’s Best News focus on progress, possibilities and solutions to the big challenges facing the world today.

“World’s Best News has shown that it is possible to change the world. You are creators of hope and perspective.”
Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, Member of Danish Parliament.

“The collaboration with World’s Best News has made us reconsider our coverage of global issues. When you started with constructive journalism it influenced the rest of the content in our newspaper”
Jonas Ratje, Editor in Chief, Metroxpress.

Meet people with constructive and unexpected development news. That is the core objective of World’s Best News.
Credit: Louise Dyring Mbae

How and why this action impacts the people in the community ?
When more people know about the solutions to the world’s problems, they are more motivated to ensure these solutions will be implemented and put into action. When World’s Best News launched in 2010, 16% of the Danes believed there was progress in lifting people out of poverty; in 2016 this number increased to 32%.

We invite you to follow this special blog series on the High Level Political Forum 2017 “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world” to find out more about the action taken by citizens and organizations of the country presenting their Voluntary National Review on the SDGs

How the United Nations is using Virtual Reality

On the 20 April, Kristin Gutekunst, Executive Producer of the UN SDG Action Campaign and project lead on UNVR, and David Cravinho, Global Fundraising Specialist for UNICEF presented at the Virtual Reality Show in London. Joining top brands from creative, technology, hardware agencies, as well as government institutions and NGOS, the show provided an opportunity to present the UNVR system’s achievements, future strategy and establish the UNVR brand as an industry leader in using interactive experiences for social impact.

In this video, Kristin Gutekunst gives an overview on the various ways the United Nations system has been using VR to allow people to step into the shoes of people around the world – creating deep human connections and fighting preconceptions. She discusses the many ways the UN system has been testing these films; potential impact on fundraising, high level advocacy, and educational programs. She also give hints about some of the big plans in store.

David Cravinho provides best practices and lessons learned on the initial findings from UNICEF’s global project to incorporate VR into their fundraising strategy, and showcases some of the innovative ways UNICEF National Committees are using it in the field through face-to-face-fundraising.

The show was an arena for Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality professionals and enthusiasts to explore experiences, witness panels and meet the top brands and innovators working in the fields of social impact, education, automotive, gaming, medicine, amusement parks, space, etc.

For more information about the UNVR program, please visit www.UNVR.org

#Connect2Effect Winning Teams Visit NYC for concluding activities

In the summer of 2016, Influx Trust approached the UN SDG Action Campaign with a simple yet ambitious idea: what if we could host simultaneous hackathons around the world, bringing together the best in social enterprise to crowdsource solutions for the SDGs?

From 16-17 May, the #connect2effect project held its concluding activities, bringing together winners from Bali, Chandighar, and London with diplomats UN colleagues, innovators, and many other stakeholders at the United Nations.

“Around the world, people who experience the daily challenges that the SDGs were created to solve also hold the solutions. Initiatives like #connect2effect ignite the creative spirit and foster collaboration, serving as the spark to convert ideas into actions. We remain committed to projects which support community led action for the SDGs.” said Mitchell Toomey, Director of the UN SDG Action campaign

 

In March, 750 social innovators completed a 48 hour hackathon, organized simultaneously in 9 cities around the world. These winning teams were coached to hone their ideas, which were presented on a new crowdfunding site,  https://crowdfunding.connect2effect.com/. This site will promote the ideas emerging from the hackathon and any other creative projects supporting the SDGs in the future.

“#Connect2Effect is testament to the power of collaboration possible between the UN and social entrepreneurs in addressing the SDGs together. We’re delighted that this joint effort by the UN SDG Action Campaign, Influx Trust have paved the way for optimising worldwide impact on the SDGs” said Max Kalis, CEO & Founder of Influx Trust.

The results this inaugural year were astounding:

  • 9 hackathons organized simultaneously in Bali, Bahrain, Chandigarh, Geneva, Lagos, Lisbon, London, NY and Rio
  • 750 social entrepreneurs, tech experts, UN experts and mentors participated
  • 90 pitches, with 9 regional winners and 3 global winners
  • Hundreds of thousands of social media views

K.GutekunstDuring their visit to New York City, the winners presented their ideas numerous times at the United Nations Headquarters.  The audiences of representatives from the United Nations, including the Office President of the General Assembly, UNDP, UN Women, the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, witnessed the progress made, learned about the hacking process, and discussed the details of the ideas of the winners.

Following the pitching roundtable, the winners were invited to an intimate meet and greet with H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, the President of the UN General Assembly, who received them in the General Assembly Hall itself. The President mused about the ideas, congratulating the teams on identifying some interesting local problems, and coming up with very innovative solutions.

“The world is changing rapidly. We need to keep up with this change yet conserve our cultural values by incorporating more sustainable practices.” H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the United Nations General Assembly

The President was impressed by the quality of all winning projects. He identified with Niskala’s cultural waste program, having attended Balinese traditional ceremonies many times as a Fijian. He applauded Paperless’ commitment to working with those most in danger of being left behind in India through their magnetic braille tablet, and he was intrigued by eQuality’s way of empowering consumers with the knowledge to make more ethical decisions.

The meet and greet concluded with a photo opportunity on the dais of the GA, with the President surrounded by the winners and organizers.

The final pitch was given by all teams during A View From the Cloud, organized by World Council of Peoples for the United Nations and the Streaming Museum. This event united artist, scientists, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and civil society in a series of thoughtful discussions on how art and technology can influence and change our world.

“The experience of coming to New York and sharing their initiatives with UN representatives has been invaluable to this year’s winners of Connect2Effect. It has offered opportunities to improve not just the prospects for their work but has also provided powerful inspiration for these social entrepreneurs personally,” concluded Kalis.

For more information, please visit: connect2effect.com