ABOUT US

Committed to helping deliver value for citizens

WHY WE EXIST

Center for Policy Innovation is an independent think and do tank harnessing cutting-edge approaches, tools and methodologies to help public sector organizations in the Western Balkans deliver value for citizens.
We believe that public policy stands at the center of economic and social progress. It is therefore critical that policy makers are equipped with the tools and confidence to address the needs of today, and tomorrow.

As governments grapple with an ever-growing number of ever complex challenges, the need for public institutions to devise new and viable solutions to problems facing citizens becomes more acute by the day. To be able to do so, utilizing innovative techniques and latest knowledge in the formulation and delivery of public policies is vital.

We help empower seasoned as well as aspiring policy makers to employ the latest knowledge in order to achieve public sector outcomes people care about. In our work we draw on multiple disciplines, including behavioral insights, human-centered design and other experimental methods, to design impactful solutions that work.

OUR PRINCIPLES

CREATE VALUE

We are guided by one fundamental question in everything we do: are we creating value for others? If the answer is no, we do not hesitate to reshape our strategy or abandon the initial plan, to ensure that we always create, but never destroy, value in the community we work with.

ROOT ACTIONS IN EVIDENCE

We make decisions and take actions on the basis of solid evidence, and continuously seek to upgrade our ability to do so.

FOCUS ON SOLVING PROBLEMS

We are driven by solving problems that matter to people’s lives. To arrive at solutions that truly address the pain points, we test and iterate rigorously, until we identify the ‘best fit’ for any given problem.

SHARE, COOPERATE AND CO CREATE

We believe that real change happens when knowledge and experience are shared,
and like-minded individuals and groups come together to create value for others.

DELIVER FOR PEOPLE

We put people at the center of all stages of policy design and delivery - we use the best available methods for understanding their needs. We devise, test and refine solutions with and for citizens.

STAY HUMBLE

We acknowledge that failure is part of the process of tackling complex challenges. We commit to share ‘what does not work’ just as ‘what works’ and learn from our mistakes.

EMBRACE RELENTLESS LEARNING

We are insatiable learners with an unquenching thirst for developing our skills and expertise. We learn from each and every activity and use lessons learned to continuously improve our impact.

OUR PRINCIPLES

CREATE VALUE

We are guided by one fundamental question in everything we do: are we creating value for others? If the answer is no, we do not hesitate to reshape our strategy or abandon the initial plan, to ensure that we always create, but never destroy, value in the community we work with.

DELIVER FOR PEOPLE

We put people at the center of all stages of policy design and delivery - we use the best available methods for understanding their needs. We devise, test and refine solutions with and for citizens.

ROOT ACTIONS IN EVIDENCE

We make decisions and take actions on the basis of solid evidence, and continuously seek to upgrade our ability to do so.

STAY HUMBLE

We acknowledge that failure is part of the process of tackling complex challenges. We commit to share ‘what does not work’ just as ‘what works’ and learn from our mistakes.

FOCUS ON SOLVING PROBLEMS

We are driven by solving problems that matter to people’s lives. To arrive at solutions that truly address the pain points, we test and iterate rigorously, until we identify the ‘best fit’ for any given problem.

EMBRACE RELENTLESS LEARNING

We are insatiable learners with an unquenching thirst for developing our skills and expertise. We learn from each and every activity and use lessons learned to continuously improve our impact.

SHARE, COOPERATE AND CO CREATE

We believe that real change happens when knowledge and experience are shared,
and like-minded individuals and groups come together to create value for others.

OUR PEOPLE

Kristína Londáková

Advisory Board Member

Kristina is Advisor at the Behavioural Insights Team, one of the world's first institutions set up to apply behavioral and experimental approaches to public policy. While at BIT, she has led over 20 innovation research projects, in the UK, France and Slovakia, that involved design, implementation and experimental evaluation of behaviorally-informed interventions in areas such as healthcare, employment and gender equality. Kristina holds a Dual Master’s in International Economic Policy and Political Economy from the London School of Economics and Sciences Po Paris.

Jelka
Stojanov

Applied Behavioral Scientist

Jelka is an Applied Behavioral Scientist at the Center for Policy Innovation. She has previously worked at the Laboratory for Research of Individual Differences and the Laboratory for Experimental Psychology at the University of Belgrade where her research projects focused on the dynamic interaction between cognitive and affective psychological processes, as well as on designing reliable psychological inventories. In addition to her academic work, Jelka also worked with the People Analytics Hub on examining employer branding strategies and early-career professionals’ needs, through the combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches. Currently a PhD candidate in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, Jelka’s research is concerned with understanding emotion processing biases occurring in inter-group contexts: between ethnic and religious groups in post-conflict regions, including the Western Balkans. Prior to starting her PhD, Jelka completed a BA in Psychology at the University of Belgrade, during which she researched the effects of ‘clickbait’ reporting on people’s attitudes. Jelka is passionate about applying her research skills to finding innovative, data-driven solutions to pressing social issues that will make a difference in people’s lives.

Dušan Lj Milenković

Co-Founder and Executive Board Member

Dušan has over a decade of experience in the field of international development, managing institutional capacity-building projects in Serbia and the Western Balkans, including at the National Democratic Institute and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy. As an active member of Serbian civil society since 2007, he has spearheaded and contributed to numerous democratization and civic engagement initiatives. Dušan is passionate about understanding the entrenched problems of Balkan governance systems, as well as applications of behavioral insights to public policy and business. He is a licensed project manager in the field of international development (PMD PRO). Dušan enjoys writing and publishes his stories and opinion pieces on his blog.

Dragana Draganac

Behavioral Insights Lead

Dragana is a Behavioral Insights Lead at the Center for Policy Innovation. She is responsible for applying behavioral insights and experimental methods to the design of effective solutions to public policy problems. Dragana holds a PhD in Economics as well as an MA in Economics from the University of Belgrade. As a Fulbright Research Fellow, Dragana has previously conducted research at the Sloan School of Management of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at Harvard University, focusing on behavioral finance and price bubbles. She is a member of the Society for Experimental Finance and author of several scientific publications. Dragana is passionate about research in the fields of behavioral economics, behavioral finance, experimental methods in social sciences and neuroeconomics.

Branko
Kovač

Advisory Board Member

Branko is the President of Data Science Srbija, a non-profit committed to building and strengthening the local Data Science community. He serves as the Managing Partner of Logikka, a boutique consultancy specializing in Machine Learning/AI solutions for business. Branko is passionate about sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm for the power of data to transform our lives for the better, mentoring aspiring Data Scientists and guiding them on their journey to developing successful careers in this growing field. Branko is one of the co-founders of the Data Science Conference, a leading annual gathering of data science professionals in the Western Balkans.

Andrea Garaiova

Executive Director and
Co-Founder

Andrea is the Executive Director at the Center for Policy Innovation. She has previously served as a Consultant at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, focusing on the Ukraine Reforms Architecture program supporting sectoral reforms and capacity building in Ukraine’s public administration. Andrea has spent several years in Kosovo working with think tanks on addressing democratization, civil society development, reconciliation and public sector challenges. As a Senior Project Manager at Open Data Kosovo she led a project aimed at bringing digital solutions to problems faced by Kosovo municipalities. She holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Oxford, an MA in International Peace and Security from King’s College London and a BA in European Affairs and Central and Eastern Europe from Sciences Po Paris. Andrea is passionate about problem-solving in public sector contexts, honing her knowledge of Balkan languages and designing workplaces conducive to team motivation and personal growth.

Alexandra Nastase

Advisory Board Member

Alexandra is a Senior Specialist in Public Sector Governance at Oxford Policy Management (OPML), a development consultancy helping low- and middle-income countries achieve growth and reduce poverty and disadvantage through public policy reform. She also acts as OPML’s Global Lead on Policy Execution. Alexandra has been working with governments to design, implement or evaluate change programs to improve public sector performance. Her geographical experience spans several continents, from Eastern and Southeastern Europe to South Asia and East Africa. She has previously worked with the World Bank, the United Nations and co-founded and managed an international affairs think tank in Romania. Alexandra holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Oxford, a Master’s in International Security from the University of Bucharest, and a bachelor’s degree from the National School of Political Science and Public Administration in Romania.

Ales Charniakovich

Executive Board Member

Ales is currently responsible for the strategic development of the Change.org Foundation. Prior to that he worked as a Business Development Manager for the Change.org corporation, the world’s platform for social change. With a background in international relations, public policy and civic activism, he contributes to the organization’s mission to empower everyday heroes to make the change they want to see in the world. Ales has previously worked for an international relations think-tank FRIDE, where he analyzed political transformations in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. At the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine he focused on the Internationalization of Ukraine’s higher education and science. He is often invited to advise on public policy matters regarding political transformation and reform processes, open data and big data for public policy, and civil society capacity-building. Ales holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Oxford, a Master’s in International Relations from Maastricht University and a Master’s in Finance and Banking from the Belarus State Economic University.

Aleksa
Antić

CPI Innovation Fellow

Aleksa is pursuing a double degree in Economics and Finance at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the University of Belgrade. During his studies Aleksa has participated in numerous competitions, winning second place at the National Competition in Mathematics and third place at the Balkan Economics Olympics. He was awarded the National Scholarship for Exceptionally Talented Students, as well as the LSE Summer School scholarship. Since 2016, Aleksa has been a member of the European Youth Parliament where he has presided over sessions and committees in over 10 countries around Europe and led over 20 teams. Between 2018 and 2020 Aleksa was one of the Council Members of the organization. Apart from his passion for finance and public policy, Aleksa is also a 3rd year student at Dr Vojislav Vučković music school, pursuing studies of opera singing.

Jovana Perovska

CPI Innovation Fellow

Jovana has worked as a researcher and analyst in the sphere of law, geopolitics and security, focusing on terrorism, extremism and arms trade and trafficking, and corruption. Jovana has previously served as an Assistant Analyst at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, with geographic focus on the Western Balkans. She has also held positions at the International Criminal Tribunal the Former Yugoslavia and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. In North Macedonia, Jovana worked as a Project Coordinator at the ZIP Institute where she managed project portfolios on countering violent extremism and combating corruption. Jovana is a graduate of International and European Law. Her postgraduate education focuses on the intersection of terrorism, globalization and international law, at the University of St Andrews and Maastricht University. Jovana is an avid language learner and speaks 8 languages. She is a passionate advocate for education and human rights.

Daniel
Prroni

CPI Innovation Fellow

Daniel is a legal consultant and a member of the United Nations Youth Association Albania, a youth-led NGO through which he has conceptualized and implemented several projects dedicated to the involvement of youth in public discussions. Previously, he was part of a program at the OSCE Presence in Albania which aimed to promote gender equality in public and political life at the national and local level and advance the agenda of gender and youth mainstreaming in policy making processes. Daniel holds a Double Master’s in International and European Law from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) and the University of Zürich, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Law from the University of Tirana. He is passionate about research on topics relating to good governance, democratization of the Western Balkans, and empowering the local community to build its capacities to contribute to these processes.

Jelena Lacmanović

CPI Innovation Fellow

Jelena is a psychology graduate from the University of Ljubljana, concurrently pursuing Master’s degrees in Intercultural Management and Psychology. She seeks to apply and combine insights from both fields for the benefit of individuals and communities. In 2020, she took part in the CEEPUS student exchange program spending a semester at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow in Poland. During her studies, she collaborated with the School of Advanced Social Studies on several research projects concerned with social issues, such as the position of the elderly in the society and conceptualization of more environmentally friendly tourist offers. Jelena is interested in combining knowledge from clinical and cognitive psychology and behavioral science for producing solutions that would improve people's quality of life. She is passionate about promoting mental health and fighting the social stigma surrounding it, hoping to one day open a clinical centre for children in Montenegro.

Leonita Krasniqi

CPI Innovation Fellow

Leonita has recently graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology Kosovo (RIT) with a major in Economics and Political Science. She has gained professional experience working at the Ministry of Finance and Transfers, supporting the work of the Cabinet of the Minister. During her studies, Leonita completed several internships in various fields, including banking and governance consulting. She has worked at a tech company Aztech, the ProCredit Bank, RIT Kosovo, the Electricity Transmission, System and Market Operator of Kosovo, and CPM/ S&D Consulting, focusing on the design of development projects. She is passionate about applying insights from behavioral economics to crafting public policies that benefit citizens and the wider society.

Agnesa
Jashari

CPI Innovation Fellow

Agnesa earned her Bachelor’s degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology Kosovo (RIT) with Summa Cum Laude honors, majoring in Economics and Public Policy with a minor in International Relations. Agnesa is an alumnus of various international exchange programs such as Global UGRAD and CIEE Work&Travel, where her performance representing Kosovo earned her the Honor Roll call. Agnesa has worked with several organizations and institutions in the public and non-profit sectors in her country, including the Ministry of Finance, Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, the Kosova Democratic Institute, and RIT Kosovo. Her interests include topics from public policy and economics, international development, and political economy. Agnesa has recently participated in the RIT Undergraduate Research Symposium with her undergraduate thesis research on property tax collection in Kosovo.

Emela
Fazlić

CPI Innovation Fellow

Emela is currently completing her Master’s degree in sustainable development and resource economics at the University of Bologna. Behind her choice to study this field lies deep appreciation for nature and her belief that its conservation is of crucial importance for the future development of humanity. Before venturing into the field of sustainable development, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Management and Economics from the University of Sarajevo. Emela has extensive volunteering experience acquired through participating in many projects, training opportunities and fellowships as part of various organizations, including AIESEC, Humanity in Action and Foundation 787. These experiences provided her with invaluable insights into the pressing issues facing the world as well as her own country, Bosnia.

Isidora Dragićević

CPI Innovation Fellow

Isidora is a psychologist, currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of Belgrade. Alongside her studies, Isidora has been involved in a wide variety of projects and activities - she has worked on the inclusion of refugees into local communities, on social and emotional development of high school students, as well as on the prevention of violence in young couples. She has also interned as a clinical psychologist at the Clinical Center of Serbia, and volunteered as an online counselor during the Covid-19 quarantine, providing crisis counselling to people in need. Isidora is passionate about civic activism and strives to use psychology as a force for change in addressing pressing social issues in her community and beyond.

Art
Alishani

CPI Innovation Fellow

Art currently works as a consultant at the International Organization for Migration in Kosovo. His fields of interest include public sector innovation, e-Government, and public administration reform. Art completed a joint Master’s program at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, University of Münster in Germany and the Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia, receiving an MSc in Public Sector Innovation and e-Governance and an MA in Social Sciences. Art’s research explores digitalization trends and the role of emerging technologies in strengthening public institutions, enhancing good governance, improving public efficiency and reducing administrative burden. Art has experience working with various national and international organizations in Kosovo, Turkey and Estonia.

Damir Dizdarević

CPI Innovation Fellow

Damir is currently pursuing Bachelor’s studies in Political Science at the University of Belgrade. Alongside his studies, Damir has been involved in various educational, civic and research activities, including the ‘Popular Democracy’ project of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy where he has served as an educator of democratic values and principles for high school students, and an internship at the weekly Vreme with focus on international politics and the Middle East. Damir is a student of the Future Studies program of the Belgrade Open School and is taking part in the Relevant Ventures Program of the New Paradigm Ventures, acting as a financial coach to startups in Uganda and Croatia. Damir is interested in the politics of religion, environment, energy security and the region of the Middle East.

Ema
Baraku

CPI Innovation Fellow

Ema has recently graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Kosovo (A.U.K) with a major in Management and Economics and a minor in Public Policy. She graduated with the highest honors. Until recently, she worked at the Prime Minister’s Office, providing administrative and technical support to its work. Ema has previously served as a Junior Consultant at S&D Consulting/CPM International where she was extensively involved in project development and implementation as well as market research. She has also acted as a student facilitator providing support to teaching activities at A.U.K. Ema is very passionate about research in the field of youth empowerment, gender equality and digitalization. Her research paper on freelancing and women’s inactivity rate in Kosovo has been published by the RIT Research Symposium and the RIT Scholars Work.

Božana Mašanović

CPI Innovation Fellow

Božana is the coordinator of the academic sector of the Montenegrin Association of Political Science Students (MAPSS), previously serving as a coordinator of its human resource sector. Božana works on projects revolving around improving the status of Political Science students in Montenegro, and creating opportunities for practical learning that complements their formal university education. She has been an active member of the international student association AIESEC. Božana is currently completing her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of Montenegro. During her studies she participated in CEEPUS exchange programs in Slovenia, at the School of Advanced Social Studies, and in Poland, at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Božana hopes to open her own NGO one day, with the goal of applying innovative approaches to finding solutions to problems faced by communities in Montenegro and beyond.

Anxhela
Doku

CPI Innovation Fellow

Anxhela serves as a Strategic Planning Specialist at the Municipality of Tirana in Albania. While at the Municipality she has worked on various projects supporting the use of innovative practices in local government and is currently involved in the program Activ∞ Tirana 2022 aimed at encouraging the spirit of activism among the city’s youth and empowering them to participate in public life. Prior to her public sector engagement she volunteered in non-profit youth organizations in Albania and Austria, focusing on capacity building activities for the young. Anxhela holds a Joint Master’s Degree in International Relations and European Integration from the University of Salzburg and the University of Tirana. She is passionate about finding creative solutions to problems and challenges in the public sector, use of experimental methods in public policy and science diplomacy in the Balkans.

Carles
Acero

Advisory Board Member

Carles is an international development economist and policy adviser with extensive experience working with multilateral and bilateral development agencies, recipient governments and NGOs. He has wide expertise in educational, labor and social policy advice and research, and aid coordination and data. Carles currently serves as a Resident Adviser at the Ministry of Finance in Mozambique, leading a World Bank project aimed at designing and implementing a new Aid Management Information System to improve aid effectiveness, coordination and transparency in the country. In his previous engagements he was a Country Director for Zambia at Innovations for Poverty Action, a UNDP-funded international consultant and an Overseas Development Institute Fellow at the Ministry of Finance in Djibouti. Carles also served as the General Coordinator of the Project Implementation Unit at the Chilean National Training and Employment Service, as well as Labour Adviser and Junior Programme Officer at UNDP Chile, among others. Carles holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Oxford, a Master’s in Development Studies from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Physics from the University of Barcelona.

Qendrim
Uka

CPI Innovation Fellow

Qendrim currently serves as a Tax Inspector at the Tax Administration of Kosovo. He has previously worked as a Tax Compliance Assistant at Ernst & Young Kosovo as well as an Assistant to the Finance Manager at FedEx. He spent several years leading the youth NGO “Lëvizja Koha” as its Director, managing youth projects funded by public and international organizations. Qendrim holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Prishtina “Hasan Prishtina”, where he is currently pursuing Master’s studies in Banking, Finance and Accounting, in addition to studying towards a Master’s in Management at Universum College. Qendrim is a recipient of the Next Generation Scholarship award from the Ipko Foundation and was selected to participate in the Swedish Institute’s Summer Academy for Young Professionals, focusing on sustainable e-Government and innovative public administration in the Balkans. Through his work, Qendrim hopes to contribute to improving the productivity and effectiveness of public sector organizations in Kosovo.

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