United Nations Welcome to the United Nations

Unite Labs

Unite Labs facilitates innovation across the United Nations Secretariat to find solutions to complex challenges by connecting UN staff to resources, ideas, external partners and each other.

The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals is a call-to-action that goes beyond the United Nations, Member States and the “traditional” development community. It is a call for participation and collective wisdom from the entire world. Individuals and private companies, who might not have previously considered themselves to be members of this community, are critical to the goals of ending poverty and inequality, ensuring healthy lives and access to education, empowering women and girls, and protecting our planet.

We believe that information and communication technologies (ICT) -  including social media, big data and analytics, smart systems and networked devices - can  empower people all over the world to connect and collectively advance the global goals alongside the United Nations; and provide tools and capabilities that transform the way development work is done.

Unite Labs creates opportunities for community members to participate directly in the substantive work of the United Nations  and improve the way we work together to achieve these goals. We are the innovation unit of the United Nations Office of Information and Communications Technology (OICT).


What we do

Our innovation labs are spaces - virtual and physical - that allow for collaborative problem-solving between UN staff, the private sector, academia and civil society.


Open Innovation
Unite Ideas is an online platform that allows staff from the UN system an opportunity to propose challenges to the public, academia, and civil society.

Outreach & Exchange
Unite Labs supports and strengthens existing UN innovators by bringing together people from inside and outside the Organization to exchange ideas and resources.

Problem Solving
Unite Labs provides tools, advisory support and guidance to facilitate problem-solving and accelerate learning through hands-on workshops and incubated projects.


Unite Ideas Challenges

During each challenge, participants from across the world work on open-source solutions. By opening up the UN’s data to the public, we create opportunities for a much wider set of possible solutions. The winning solutions are showcased and open-sourced to be used by others at the UN, governments or civil society organizations to address their own unique needs.

To date, we have had communities of technologists, academics, designers, and scientists: identify important connections between the global goals; visualize agreements and accountabilities from the 2014 World Humanitarian Summit; and work to open source a model that supports universal access to electricity.

Launch Unite Ideas

View the latest Unite Ideas challenge 

Propose a Unite Ideas challenge   

Unite Labs Salons

Salons are spaces for idea testing and exchange. They are designed to advance conversation and action related to innovation and emerging technologies. Salons provide a platform for staff to share challenges and resources. To date, our salons have created safe spaces for UN staff to exchange ideas with government innovation labs, members of affected communities, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, and other innovators from within the UN system.

Contact us about co-organizing a Salon