Sometimes it’s really annoying when you can’t be in a few places at once. This definitely came up last week, as I began following from London a very lively Twitter stream from the United Nations Development Programme aka UNDP’s #inno2013 event, in Montenegro. I’m not even sure if that’s its official name – but #inno2013 was a great hashtag to follow for a few days. The event was attended by my Twitter pal and expert on government innovation @dominiccampbell, along with numerous other people I follow through Twitter such as @gquaggiotto and @marclepage. So I got good insights as things unfurled.

In addition to seeing people discussing UNDP’s use of Akvo Really Simple Reporting (RSR) and FLOW used by people such as @jurakhrapunov, @laylo_fotikh and others in its Central and Eastern European team, I began to learn how UNDP is exploring user-led innovation in development, with a dedicated website on that theme.

They say if you’re not at the party, at least get talked about at the party. So from an Akvo perspective, @bjelkeman and I were really excited to hear via Twitter UNDP’s work with Akvo specifically mentioned in a video address to the event by Helen Clark, Administrator of UNDP.

For non-UN or government types, don’t be put-off by the “administrator” job title. Helen Clark leads UNDP, having served as the Prime Minister of New Zealand for three terms – you can see more about her background over on Wikipedia. She’s also a very active user of Twitter at @HelenClarkUNDP.

Helen talks about Akvo at 3.48 – 4.09:

“We do aim to make the results of our work visible quickly. Through real time monitoring, and reporting, and quick feedback loops. The Akvo project monitoring and reporting system, which some of our projects are using, enables us to bring complex networks of projects online and share progress with everyone involved and anyone who is interested.”

You can watch the video address below:

One of the most rewarding aspects of my work is getting to know some of the people bringing about change in complex bureaucracies that were designed by previous generations to solve problems they saw at the time. Adapting things to today requires a level of patience and determination that personally I’m in awe of, because it’s so easy in such situations to defend no-change or the easy-option.

Less than five years ago, those of us who believed in the power of Twitter would turn up at events and feel like lonely freaks. “Oh, is that the thing where people say what they’re eating for breakfast? I don’t have time to use Twitter – I’m too busy doing real work.”

But Twitter is now an amazingly powerful tool to follow what this generation of people are doing around the world, and watch them engage together and with outsiders at events and day-to-day. Things are really opening up. We have a great few years ahead of us together. I think we’re beginning to see the idea of what gets eaten for breakfast turned on its head.

Mark Charmer is a co-founder of Akvo, and director of communications.

For some background on our work with UNDP in Central and Eastern Europe, see this blog by @lissyvn (9 July 2013)

p.s. This has to be my favourite #inno2013 tweet, by @alberto_cottica (cc @dominiccampbell).