Southern Innovators

Southern Innovator was initially launched in 2011 with the goal of – hopefully – inspiring others (just as we had been so inspired by the innovators we contacted and met). The magazine sought to profile stories, trends, ideas, innovations and innovators overlooked by other media. The magazine grew from the monthly e-newsletter Development Challenges, South-South Solutions published by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) since 2006.

Launched in 2011, Southern Innovator’s first issue on mobile phones and information technology proved highly influential, profiling the work of a new generation of innovators. It has been cited in books, papers and strategic plans.  

“What a tremendous magazine your team has produced! It’s a terrific tour de force of what is interesting, cutting edge and relevant in the global mobile/ICT space… Really looking forward to what you produce in issues #2 and #3. This is great, engaging, relevant and topical stuff.” Rose Shuman, Founder & CEO, Open Mind and Question Box

Launched in March 2012, Southern Innovator's second issue focused on the theme of youth and entrepreneurship. Designed and printed in Iceland to Nordic Ecolabel standards, it highlighted the importance of youth and their energy to the achievement of development goals. 

“Beautiful, inspiring magazine from UNDP on South-South innovation. Heart is pumping adrenaline and admiration just reading it” Peggy Lee on Pinterest

Launched in September 2012, the third issue (ISSN 2222-9280) showed the impact new mobile and information technologies were having on meeting the food needs of a fast-growing, urbanising global South. 

Launched in October 2013 at the Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD Expo) held at the headquarters of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya. The 60-page colour magazine gave a snapshot of how innovators were tackling the challenges of a majority urban world and its growing number of megacities. This included visiting eco and smart cities in development in China and South Korea. 

Launched in April 2014, Southern Innovator's fifth issue featured innovators working to build a 'green economy' and a 'circular economy'. As with all the issues of Southern Innovator, the content played a key role in the development of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the formulation of strategic plans for the United Nations. Southern Innovator championed a 21st-century global innovator culture to help build a more resilient world population. Each issue of Southern Innovator was designed by a woman-owned Icelandic design studio using 100 per cent renewable energy.   

The Southern Innovator story archive and portal was launched in 2011 by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).

“I liked your latest Southern innovator! Always inspiring.” Joana Breidenbach,, Berlin, Germany

Development Challenges, South-South Solutions was launched as an e-newsletter in 2006 by UNDP’s South-South Cooperation Unit (now the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation) based in New York, USA. It led on profiling the rise of the global South as an economic powerhouse and was one of the first regular publications to champion the global South’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers. It tracked the key trends that are now so profoundly reshaping how development is seen and done. This includes the rapid take-up of mobile phones and information technology in the global South (as profiled in the first issue of magazine Southern Innovator), the move to becoming a majority urban world, a growing global innovator culture, and the plethora of solutions being developed in the global South to tackle its problems and improve living conditions and boost human development. The success of the e-newsletter led to the launch of the magazine Southern Innovator. 

“Great economic and business reporting! Very helpful for us.”  Africa Renewal, Africa Section United Nations Department of Public Information

“I just went over your June newsletter. It’s very well done and far reaching. Congratulations!” Violette Ruppanner, Director, 3D -> Trade – Human Rights – Equitable Economy, Geneva, Switzerland

“Just to let you know I enjoyed the newsletter a lot – it was interesting to learn about things going on that I would never otherwise find out about, and also the listing of future conferences and events proved very useful.” Ian Sanderson, Deloitte, Geneva, Switzerland

“I think you [David South] and the designer [Solveig Rolfsdottir] do great work and I enjoy Southern Innovator very much!” Ines Tofalo, Programme Specialist, United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation

“Congratulations on another great newsletter that’s packed with fascinating information! I really enjoy getting it each month.” Whitney Harrelson, Making Cents, Washington D.C.

“I highly recommend Mr. [David] South as a thoughtful, insightful, analytical, creative and very amicable person who has the unique ability to not only grasp complex problems but also to formulate a vision and strategy that gets things done. … ” Cosmas Gitta, Former Assistant Director, Policy and United Nations Affairs at United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) in UNDP

"Graphically beautiful & informative @UNDP Southern Innovator mag on South-South Innov."  @JeannineLemaire