Impact innovators | issue 1

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Our world needs answers... Europe responds to global challenges Accelerators redefine future of food


years of European Innovation p8.





IN THIS ISSUE 2 Communication as a game

Impact Innovators is a new platform dedicated to using the power of communication to grow a culture of awareness and a community of active pioneers from across the quadruple helix committed to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Susan Robertson, Co-Founder, Innovators Magazine Europe will continue to play a leading role in addressing many of the global challenges (SDGs). The EU Top50 Startup competition launched at the European Innovation Summit in 2017, for example, supports impact innovators develop solutions to these challenges. While the recent introduction of the multibillion euro VentureEU,  a venture capital ‘fund-of-funds’ supported by the European Commission, the European Investment Fund, and international investment fund, Axon Partners Group – which provided an award at EU Top50 – is another example of the joined up thinking and strategic direction driving progress across the continent. Effective communication is another important element in accelerating the transition to a better and sustainable world for all – and that is where Impact Innovators comes in. Dr Roland Strauss, Managing Director, Knowledge 4 Innovation I’m the latest addition to the Innovators team. I have been selected to kick-start the ‘Impact Comms’ programme, a new project letting young professionals experience the power that communication plays in accelerating progress. The new Quarterly platform is not just about this magazine; social media chats, events and networking sessions will be some of the other tools we will use to generate the connections and exchange of ideas that can trigger effective action from industry experts, leaders and people that are passionate about our world, just like you and me. Carlotta De Toni, Impact Comms Lead, Innovators Magazine

changing tool 4 Q&A with UN SDG advocate, Marc Buckley 8 Landmark year for European Innovation Summit 10 Young pioneers take centre stage 12 Policy makers have a clear mission 15 Accelerator seeks solutions to zero hunger 18 Thomson Reuters focuses on driving positive societal impact

CORE TEAM Editor | Iain Robertson Partnerships | Susan Robertson Digital | Ryan McFadyen Design | Blair Carrick News & Features | Carlotta De Toni Operations | Gillian Greig


 @innovatorsmag


 innovatorsmag

 Amsterdam +310 613 711 239 | Glasgow +44 141 570 0029 We accept no responsibility for any effects from errors or omissions. All material is copyright and reproduction is not permitted without express permission. All rights reserved.


Let’s build a better world together This century is crying out for a world that can find solutions to the challenges that threaten its very existence. By Iain Robertson


he rather long to do list currently facing humanity is getting a little longer every day, as the negative impact of climate change, conflict, dwindling resources and rising populations present difficult questions on how best to move forward. Finding the answers will require everyone to contribute: individuals, businesses, governments and academic institutions – and in a collaborative way. Thankfully we have the tools to accelerate the desired impact: innovation and communication. Throw in a handy international blueprint to guide our actions: the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – and we have the means and direction to build a better world. Impact Innovators is here to harness the power of communication to help fast-track the journey towards that better world. A new European-based platform, it has been borne out of an ongoing collaboration between Innovators Magazine and Knowledge4Innovation (K4I) - an

organisation which promotes a culture of innovation across the European Union. The progress and impact of the European Innovation Summit (EIS) and EU Top 50 Startup competition (EU50), two K4I-led initiatives, will be communicated through the platform. “Communication is a key element in accelerating the creation and adoption of innovations that can overcome society’s biggest challenges – and deliver a sustainable future for all. The European Innovation Summit and EU Top50 competition are vehicles for advancing and facilitating change driven by science, new technologies, research and innovation. And this new multimedia quarterly platform complements them with actionable messages, discussions and debates that are designed to mainstream transformative ideas and opportunities,” said Dr Roland Strauss, Managing Director of Knowledge4Innovation.

Walking the talk

Impact Innovators will also showcase the pioneering companies, programmes and accelerators - like the EU Top50 - from Europe and beyond, that are developing and advancing the solutions and ideas which will take us closer to realising the fair and sustainable world we all want. We’re going to go further than that though, by taking storytelling full circle. While examples of great breakthroughs can undoubtedly provide inspiration; Impact Innovators must sit at the nexus of innovation and communication to function as one big call to action – targeted at all groups. This means that as well as having articles on the innovators and innovations positively transforming our world, the quarterly magazine element – which will include a flagship annual edition distributed at the European Parliament during EIS – will also link them to the SDGs they are tackling, and most importantly, highlight the corresponding programmes


The sponsored programme asks someone with skills honed in an industry-specific discipline like biotech, food and drink or clean energy, to report across sectors: to learn about the growing and necessary cooperation between them and to take new communication skills into their future roles. Carlotta De Toni, who works in food innovation, is the first to pilot this programme. “I’m delighted to be the first to join the Impact Comms Programme, designed to let students and professionals experience the interconnections between sectors and the key role communication plays in accelerating progress and innovation,” Carlotta said.

and initiatives you can join to help achieve the related goals. Between editions we’ll have a mix of podcasts, Twitter chats, webinars and events to maximise the game-changing impact of communication; and we’ll raise awareness across the quadruple helix, in a way that’s deliberately cross-sectoral, engaging and digestible.

People power

Our newly launched ‘Impact Comms Programme’ is an integral part of what we’re trying to do. It puts people at the heart of the movement pushing for change.

Join the conversation Sign up for free regular updates from Impact Innovators here. It is where you’ll find all our latest news; and information on our plans for the platform’s inaugural Impact Comms Forum, an event that will examine the types of communications that have the greatest impact when it comes to mainstreaming new ideas.

Connecting communities  Apply comms and cross-sectoral knowledge in future roles

 For students taking industryfocused uni courses (incl food/ drink; biotech; circular economy)

6 month multi-media comms role

Feeding knowledge gained back to sector

Vlog personal journey



 Report cross-sectoral news and opinions generated at events


 Attend industry events, including EU50; EIS; Seeds&Chips

Embark on role focused on sustainable and disruptive innovation aspects of these industries - from an SDG angle


Q&A with Marc Buckley Member of the Expert Network for the World Economic Forum for Innovation, Social Innovation, Climate Change, Agriculture, Food and Beverage | Innovation Special Adviser, Bayer Cares Foundation | UN SDG Advocate


What does ‘impact innovation’ mean to you?

Impact innovations disrupt, help or solve more than a million people’s problem or address a Global Grand Challenge through meaningful impact to society and markets. It means bringing exponential impact innovations to solve people and planetary problems in exponential times.


How important is it to

Q align innovation and the SDGs?

The world is moving away from linear thinking and the silo approach for solving problems. The SDGs are a systemic approach and are all tied to the basic needs of life especially those of humanity. Let us say it this way - it is harder not to align innovation with the SDGs than it is to do so. If you do not see our world from an ecocentric/ecosystem view you are stuck in a linear/silo view of the world. This ‘business as usual’ model is ripe for disruption in 70+ markets of the world. Businesses that want to be around in the future need to make sure they have dynamic systems and business models, and include the SDGs as the foundation that provides the resilience to hold their business together well beyond 2030.



How should we tackle the SDGs?

It’s important we understand and begin to see SDGs as a component of a holistic system that will help us to transition to a resilient, sustainable future. The goals are the largest open consultation ever held, and represent a tremendous opportunity to again make humanity aware of the Golden Rule as a guiding principle. They were agreed by 196 countries at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris and aim to enable us to meet the goal of the conference—known as the Paris Agreement—to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees by 2030. The goals are: no poverty; zero hunger; good health and well-being; quality education; gender equality; clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation and infrastructure; reduced inequalities; sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption and production; climate action; life below water; life on land; peace, justice, and strong institutions; and partnerships for the goals. They are often depicted in a linear poster, but that may disguise the fact that they must be achieved within the safe operating space of a resilient and stable planet. We need to transition the planet into a safe operating space. Looking at an exponentially growing problem in a linear


way may not be the best way to understand it. In the same way that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs depicts our physiological needs, it is helpful to look at the SDGs in the guise of a wedding cake, as devised by Johan Rockström, Executive Director of Stockholm Resilience Centre, and Chairman of the EAT Advisory Board, and Pavan Sukhdev, Founder and CEO of Gist Advisory. The base layer is the biosphere: life on land; life below water; clean water and sanitation; and climate action. The central layer contains society: no poverty; sustainable cities and communities; peace, justice, and strong institutions; affordable and clean energy; good health and well-being; quality

Marc Buckley

education; gender equality; and zero hunger. The top layer is the economy: decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation, and infrastructure; reduced inequalities; and responsible consumption and production. And at the pinnacle is partnership to attain the goals. This shows how all the SDGs are directly or indirectly connected to sustainable and healthy food. It is a paradigm shift to see our planet as non-negotiable, and not as a factor that limits prosperity, transformation, and success. It proves that food is a prerequisite for success. If we can succeed with food, we will succeed for all people and also for our planet.  More specifically, the wedding cake shows

how global food reform can affect the whole planet. The agriculture, food, and beverage industries are the greatest strain on natural resources and on the health and wellbeing of everyone on Earth. The majority of the food we grow first goes to feed cars, then animals, and lastly humanity. Our food is creating a pandemic of obesity, diabetes, asthma, heart, and other health problems. The fossil fuels and refrigerants we use to produce and transport these products are a bigger emitter of greenhouse gasses than the oil and gas industry, and are keeping that industry in business. The packaging for food is causing biodiversity loss in our oceans and contamination on land. Globally, 30%

of all food produced is wasted or thrown away before it is consumed. If we dispose of this waste by burying it as landfill, it comes back to bite us as methane, which is seventy times more powerful at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Even if this waste is burned or dumped into water, the long-term results are not much better. There is a third component to this. The Paris Agreement and the SDGs are not the only things that are required to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees by 2030. An economic and financial figure was agreed as well: to invest 90 trillion USD worldwide in sustainable developments in infrastructure, including private and public energy,

Marc Buckley

transport, and water by 2030. These climate-friendly investments will pay for themselves in the medium to long-term, and will ensure that we reach our 2030 goals. This figure represents six trillion USD per year from 2015. We fell 700 billion USD short of one trillion USD in the first year, and 200 billion USD short in 2016. However, we are on track to break one trillion USD in 2017, which will still leave us 17 trillion USD behind in sustainable developments for 2018.  As well as needing to understand the SDGs properly, we need to put the 90 trillion USD by 2030 into perspective. The UN predicts that there will be 8.5 billion people on the planet by 2030; this represents a spending of about 10,500 USD per person, or 882 USD per person per month for one year. It is also important to understand the resources required to sustain one human life to a normal life expectancy in 2017. This has been calculated at 1.6 global hectares (a global hectare is an expression of ecological footprint and biocapacity). Since August 2, 2017 we have been using 2.87 global hectares per person, which represents a deficit of 1.17 global hectares per person. If we continue with business as usual, human demand on the Earth’s ecosystems is projected to exceed what nature can regenerate by about 75% by 2020. Similarly, if we continue on our current path, the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate projects that the world will invest 89 trillion

 The top three things we can do to stop and reverse global warming are:

USD by 2030 regardless, most of which will be spent on insurance and emergency response—essentially Band-Aids for high-carbon, climatedamaging businesses. By investing the 90 trillion USD in resilient, sustainable infrastructures and low-carbon, renewable projects, we would have an additional 14 trillion USD investment with long-term returns that will support 8.5 billion people by 2030. It’s been business as usual for too long. We need to stop and reverse global warming now. Businesses that are reducing their carbon emission by 30% to 60% are still doing harm, just less harm. If you’re headed in the wrong direction, you need to stop and turn around. Slowing down just means you’re going slowly in the wrong direction.

What steps can people

Q take to contribute to the SDGs?

Have a voice and let social and political leaders know how you feel. Break old habits and adopt new ones with your own personal SDG adoption of the goals. Innovate within your own life to be resilient and local with how you eat and use resources. The reform is not with you but the agriculture, food and beverage producers. Currently we have little say in how they produce. We can make our voice heard and let them know they need to change their ways to sustainable production. There are many tools available to help and make this easier. It starts with a desire to change then shaping it into new positive habits.


1 Global food reform


 Empower women and girls

3 Rethink refrigerants

Is Marc speaking near you? May 7-10: Seeds&Chips Milan, Italy May 9: FReSH: The 4.0 Food Economy @ Seeds & Chips by AHK German Italian Chamber of Commerce Milan, Italy May 16: LifeGate Food Business Bologna, Italy May 24-25: Pioneers Vienna, Austria May 30- June 3: Bayer Bejing Beijing, China June 8: 60 years of Young, Sustainable and Quality Agriculture Giovani di Confagricoltura – ANGA Rome, Italy June 11-12: EAT Foundation, EAT Stockholm Food Forum 2018 Stockholm, Sweden June 19-22: Tech Open Air Berlin, Germany Check out for more details and an updated list of events.



“If you want to be a startup billionaire, you have to solve a billion peoplesʻ problems” “If you want to be a startup billionaire, you have to solve a billion people’s problems” Thimo V. Schmitt-Lord MBE, Head of Bayer Cares Foundations

Thimo V.Schmitt-Lord MBE, Head of Bayer Cares Foundations We believe in the game changing power of innovation – we support pioneers who apply tech innovations to humanityʼs We believe inaround the game changing biggest challenges health and food.power of innovation – we support pioneers who apply tech innovations to humanity’s biggest challenges around health and food. In 2018 we are scouting for startups, innovators, In 2018andwe areinnovations scouting for Startups, Innovators, and and Impact focused on impact particularly focused on agriculture foodInnovations production forparticularly our seed funding agriculture and food production for our seed funding programs and new book "The Beauty of Impact Food". We are programs and new book ‘The Beauty of Impact – Food’. We are searching for innovations that solve the searching innovations that solve food crisis challenges and other that global grand health-related that we food for crisis and other global grandthe health-related we can promote and fund challenges to bring to the can promote and fund to bring to the rising billions in need around the world. rising billions in need around the world. Seeking funding yourself for a crazy ‘Innovation-4-Food’ idea? Impromptu Pitch, Seeds&Chips, May 10 from 2-4 pm @ AHK German Italian Chamber of Commerce Pavilion Bayer Booth

Seeking funding yourself for a crazy “Innovation-4-Food” idea?

The next opportunity thepm Foundation’s CEO Italian - ThimoV. Schmitt-Lord, and UNPavilion SDG Advocate, Expert Impromptu Pitch May to 10 meet from 2-4 @ AHK German Chamber of Commerce Bayer Booth Network World Economic Forum, Open Innovation Advisor and Speaker - Marc Buckley is at Seeds & Chips, Milan, May 7th-10th The next opportunity to meet the Foundations CEO Thimo V. Schmitt-Lord and UN SDG Advocate, Expert Network World Economic Forum, Open Innovation Advisor and Speaker Marc Buckley is at Seeds & Chips May 7th-10th.






European Innovation O Summit turns 10 in November The annual European Innovation Summit (EIS) will celebrate its tenth anniversary this year.


rganised by Knowledge4Innovation (K4I), and held at the European Parliament in Brussels, it has firmly established itself as the continent’s premier cross-sectoral industry and policy event. In 2017, lively debate sessions at EIS focused on the impact and opportunities being created by global innovation megatrends, including artificial intelligence, big data, the bioeconomy, megacities, regenerative medicine and cybersecurity. The summit also included the launch of the new EU Top 50 initiative for young innovators. Serial pioneer, Bertrand Piccard, co-founder and CEO of the Solar Impulse Foundation was the keynote speaker. He







Bertrand Piccard at EU Top50


Carlos Moedas and Jerzy Buzek



told the young innovators to dream big and to take on the toughest challenges – even if they seem impossible. And the EU50 platform will strive to help them achieve the impossible.

‘New generation’ takes Europe forward

There have been some recent new additions at K4I, an organisation which promotes a culture of innovation across the European Union – with the appointment of its first female Chair, Croatian Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Ivana Maletić. Four other new MEP Vice-Chairs have also joined, Andrey Novakov, Angelika

Mlinar, Paul Rubig and Henna Virkkunen. After almost a decade at the helm MEPs, Lambert Van Nistelrooij, who was Chair of K4I and Vice-Chair, Jerzy Buzek, have handed over the leadership to a ‘new generation’. They will both continue to play a productive role in K4I throughout this anniversary year though.

And the new generation have wasted no time in making an impact, with two of the new additions, Ivana and Angelika, taking part in a recent Twitter chat - hosted by K4I and Innovators Magazine - on the need to achieve gender equality in STEM fields. “For Europe to remain globally competitive we must be at the forefront of innovation and harness communication tools that can help build a diverse community of actors working for positive change. I look forward to meeting some of that community at our 10th anniversary summit,” said Dr Roland Strauss, Managing Director, K4I.


Thumbs up for new EU50 platform

By Carlotta De Toni


ast year, Knowledge4Innovation, IncubatorEurope and Glowfly joined forces to launch the EU Top50 startup competition. The event brought together 50 startups leveraging technology designed to offer disruptive solutions that can meet the global agenda on sustainable development. Innovators Magazine produced a special edition showcasing the startups, which are developing products in a range of disciplines, including education, healthcare, energy transition, space exploration, food, agriculture and climate change. As part of the 9th European Innovation Summit, all startups had the opportunity to pitch their company in the hemicycle of the European Parliament in front of investors, policymakers, corporate representatives, and industry experts and leaders. It was a great opportunity to showcase their innovations and gain media exposure. I spoke with Laszlo Békéssy , Adriano Desideri, and Jakob Johansson CEOs of Codeberry, Solho and Gleechi respectively to find out about their EU50 experiences. Laszlo revealed that since the event, the Hungarian startup has expanded into four new countries. “We are now present in Hungary, Romania, Poland, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brazil and Mexico,” he said. He also told us that since November, revenues have grown by €1.5K monthly, meeting the financial goals set by Axon Partners Group, the investors who presented an award to the startup at EU50 “The numbers look good, and our team is growing fast and happy,” Laszo said. And when asked how his team found the EU Top50 experience, he added: “It was a very positive, great event for our team. Being there in the European Parliament to pitch our idea has been a big deal. Receiving the

prize made us more confident that we are doing something right and it encouraged us to keep going.” Now Codeberry is on to a mission to harness the power of globalisation and consolidate their presence in Indonesia. Solho has also made significant progress since the event. One month after the EU Top50, the startup received two grants that allowed Adriano’s team to build the first prototype and test an advanced version of their system. Right after, the startup signed the first partnership agreement with the company van der Hoeven. “We are now building a prototype with van der Hoeven in Avignon, in the South of France. It is such an honour,” Adriano said. At the event, Solho received a prize from the engineering organization IEEE, which increased visibility for the startup. “People began to be interested in our project, and wanted to connect with us and also ask to work for us. We are now part of the IEEE, which allows us to attend their conferences and events, further increasing our network.” On the event itself, Adriano said: “The most interesting element about the EU Top50 is that they brought together two very different worlds: the startups’ world and the bureaucratic one of the European Parliament. Being part of this first step of inclusion has been an honour.” Gleechi’s Jakob Johansson echoed this feedback, saying: “It was a fantastic event and a great opportunity to meet with EU decision-makers and some very influential people in the tech industry. We did a big virtual reality (VR) demo showcasing what we’re doing to enable the next generation of learning using VR technology. We saw a massive interest and got some brilliant

supporters. I have to admit I was a bit surprised to see how quickly the people at the parliament understood some of the pretty high-tech stuff we are working with.” He continued: “Our biggest step forward in terms of the product since EU50 has been to build a learning module to optimise VRbased training for industry. With this we’ve been able to show that this technology can enable people with dyslexia, ADHD and Asperger’s to learn new work tasks with VR much more efficiently compared to traditional learning methods. The VR technology can be a complete game changer for these people.”

EUTop50 2018 edition will: Put Europe’s Young Innovation Leaders centre stage and facilitate knowledge exchange among the next generation of founders Build communities in which these leaders act as mentors for early stage startups     Offer the most influential future innovation leader mentorship programme in cooperation with leading innovation actors from across Europe Empower young founders who are building breakthrough products and technologies that meet Europe’s most pressing needs.

Join the EU50 Impact Innovators digital community here or via our website.


Forging ‘coalitions of the willing’

Robbert Fisher

Innovation can provide answers to many of the world’s challenges, and its impact is becoming increasingly sought across business, academia, and industry. By Robbert Fisher - President, Knowledge 4 Innovation (K4i) Managing Director, Joint Institute for Innovation Policy (JIIP)



ow can policy and government play their part in facilitating innovative ecosystems that look to the future, and remain agile? These are the types of questions being addressed across the European Commission just now as it plans the 9th Research and Innovation Framework Programme (FP9). This will provide the focus and mechanisms for Innovation and research funding from 2021 to 2027 when Horizon 2020 comes to an end. The plans are going through the legislative process just now, and will reach the European Parliament this May, so we are rapidly closing in on decision time. But how should the new framework be shaped? And how can it improve the impact innovation has in tackling the challenges facing the continent? Many issues have been up for debate with FP9, as the Commission considers its options to increase measurable impact of its R&I activities in relation to Global Challenges and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Mission Orientation is one of the options, and a growing body of academic research supports the implementation of such an approach. Designing a new FP for research at EU level is highly complex, and Mission Orientation could provide answers to the current challenges, not necessarily by reducing complexities, but by providing better answers to today’s challenges. Mission Orientation has gained renewed impetus in debates directing European and national research and innovation policy agendas. It is not new, one of the best known early examples is the Apollo programme, a grand technological mission, launched in 1961 with the objective to send a man to the moon and return him safely by the end of the decade. These types of initiatives also had, though were not explicitly aiming to achieve, spill-over effects that led to innovations with broader outreach and impact, such as the invention of Teflon during the moon mission. In recent times, missions are more explicitly linked to societal challenges such as those being created by an ageing population or environmental degradation and climate change, leading to a widening of the concept. For instance, the current German energy transition programme (‘Energiewende’) is a broader societal mission, not primarily based on research and innovation actions, with ambitious greenhouse gas reduction and renewable energy targets by 2050. Against this background, the European Commission is

EU Commission investigating possible ways and means of reorienting European research and innovation (R&I) funding towards a more mission-oriented approach in the EU’s upcoming 9th Research and Innovation Framework Programme (FP9). Missionoriented research and innovation initiatives, in that respect, should help to provide clearly-defined solutions to solve societal and industrial challenges. The Joint Institute of Innovation Policy (JIIP) study has provided the political and detailed policy case. It is clear that the new FP will not be a radical shift from the current practice but rather build on the current work, and that mission orientation will put societal challenges on a more results-driven stage.

Addressing challenges

What sets missions apart from challenges is their clearly defined and commonly agreed measurable targets and timeline. In other words, missions are characterised by their direction and intention. They are to be defined to address a challenge and not a predefined solution. The definition and implementation of a mission are driven by the mission context and thematic area. It offers a more holistic way to address challenges by balancing centralised leadership, with a bottom-up engagement to define solution pathways. There is great complexity in the implementation but also a move towards boldness in the missions chosen, so that ambitious impact can be sought for the resources available. It would be advisable

to forge ‘coalitions of the willing’ rather than to seek the common ground across all Member States. The balance should be found between the missions and not within the missions. The mission-oriented approach is not only attractive for policy-makers and politicians, but also the beneficiaries, be they from industry or research, who are strongly in favour of the new direction, as the JIIP study points out. Much is, however, still unclear regarding the definition of missions and how they could be implemented. R&I Missions will reach far beyond R&I policies and will require an appropriate mix of policy instruments including many non R&I policies (such as demand side policies and tax policies). The studies show there is no one size fits all way of doing things and that the processes in defining, managing and implementing missions are to a large extent driven by the mission context. In FP9 it is likely that the Missions will be concentrated in one of the pillars, and introduced in a step by step manner, to learn from the experiences before embarking on all mission oriented R&I approach. To support the Commission’s work, the Joint Institute for Innovation Policy (JIIP)  including its members TNO, Tecnalia, Joanneum Research and VTT, together with the Danish Technology Institute (DTI) and Valdani Vicari & Associati (VVA) have been commissioned to conduct a study exploring the likely impacts of such a reorientation of the next Framework Programme post 2020, and proposing suitable implementation mechanisms.

i n n o v a te f or

ZERO HUNGER United Nations World Food Programme We deliver food assistance to more than 80 million people in 80 countries, but we need your help to identify, support and scale solutions that can accelerate our progress toward zero hunger.

Apply to the WFP Innovation Accelerator Submit your innovation for a chance to get access to mentorship, ďŹ nancial support, and WFP operations and experts.


Accelerating towards zero hunger The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Innovation Accelerator ‘nurtures and scales bold solutions to hunger globally’ – tackling UN Sustainable Development Goal 2: to zero hunger.



ere are four mobile game-changing applications that have been supported by the Accelerator.

Maano: Virtual Farmers Market Lower smartphone prices are driving a digital revolution in Africa, allowing phone users to access the internet at unprecedented levels. More than half a billion people across Africa now subscribe to mobile services, with the number expected to grow to 725 million by 2020. At the same time, millions of rural smallholder farmers struggle for access to local and national markets that could lift them out of hunger and poverty. Enter Maano: Virtual Farmers Market (VFM). VFM is a bold WFP innovation project that leverages the digital communications boom to increase market access and improve livelihoods for smallholder farmers for good. An app-based e-commerce platform where farmers’ surplus and buyers’ demand for crops are advertised and traded, Maano provides a transparent, open and trustworthy space for smallholder farmers and buyers to negotiate fair prices and deals.



The WFP has captured a new generation of donors with its social good app, ShareTheMeal. The mobile first experience has attracted millennials and many others by providing a transparent, social, and democratic way to do good. To date, users have shared 21 million meals through multiple campaigns ranging from the Rohingya refugee crisis in Cox’s Bazar to Boko Haram. With ShareTheMeal users hold the future in their hands. It’s charity reinvented.

Launched in 2017, Dalili helps food-insecure Syrian, Lebanese and Jordanian families make the most of their money.  Leveraging on relationships between WFP and retailers, the smartphone app collates and displays food items, prices and promotions at nearby stores. Without leaving their homes, users select desired items and instantly know which shops will provide them with the best price. The goal is to help users make informed shopping decisions in environments where every cent counts.  The app aims to boost market efficiency, improve competition and ultimately reduce the prices of the most popular products. The app was launched in November 2017 and is now deployed in three villages in the Bekaa Valley.

Farm to Market Alliance The Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) is a collaboration between public and private organisations to help smallholder farmers unlock new opportunities and move from subsistence to commercial farming. It provides farmers with access to affordable finance, quality farming inputs, predictable markets, and effective agricultural and postharvest technologies. Now operating in four countries, FtMA can be scaled up across developing markets.

Learn more... about the WFP Accelerator at

#1000 efficient solutions to protect the environment in a profitable way.

Today, thousands of solutions exist that can boost economic growth while preserving nature, but they are often hidden in start-ups or research labs. They remain unknown to decision makers and are not implemented at industry level, so few people realize that everyone can use them and how profitable they have become. We need to embrace clean technologies and efficient solutions, because they are much more than ‘ecological, ’ they are ‘logical’. ” Dr. Bertrand Piccard, Initiator and Chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation


Bringing together actors in the field of clean technology, creating synergies by facilitating matchmaking between solution providers and investors, and showcasing Efficient Solutions which have the potential to address today’s environmental challenges: such is the mission of the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions created by Bertrand Piccard.



By working together with independents experts and recognized institutions, the World Alliance offers to its members an assessment of their solutions entirely free of charge based on technological, environmental and socio-economic criteria. Labelled solutions will be gathered into a Portfolio of #1000solutions to be presented by Bertrand Piccard at COP24 in December 2018.

One of the first to envision ecology through the lens of profitability, and an influential thought leader on the topics of progress and sustainability, Bertrand Piccard will travel the world to present the #1000solutions Portfolio to governments, companies, and institutions. His goal is to help them adopt more ambitious environmental targets and energy policies.



Submit your solution right now to have a chance to be listed in the #1000solutions Portfolio.


‘Innovating for impact’ can transform society By Saidah Nash Carter, Head of Innovation at Thomson Reuters, Africa


otal societal impact (TSI) refers to the positive and negative economic, social, and environmental effects an organisation has in the communities where it operates. This includes, but is not limited to, the impact of its products and solutions, operations, and its corporate social responsibility initiatives. Over the last few years, TSI has gained attention, particularly from investors, as ESG data has become more readily available (and trackable) and public demands for transparency are on the rise. Key stakeholders, including clients, employees, regulators and the media expect companies to play a role in addressing major global challenges. Many companies have joined the UN Global Compact to help address challenges such as gender parity, economic inclusion and long term sustainability. Innovation and co-creation are essential in delivering on these goals. As global challenges and business problems become increasingly complex, multiple parties must come together to work on solutions. Innovation will be more important than ever in solving societal problems and collective development will lead the way. In the next decade, we will likely see the rise of social innovators as a profession. Even though I sit in a large corporation and am focused on driving business transformation, I am certainly a social innovator. I currently lead the Thomson Reuters Innovation Lab in Cape Town, South Africa. Our goal is to utilise emerging technologies to develop smart solutions for the local economy. We work with the government, customers, startups and universities to enable lean experimentation and build Saidah Nash Carter

solutions that will have an impact on the way that people and businesses interact. There is nothing more gratifying to me than seeing TSI in action through the products that we develop. One particular project that will have a far-reaching impact on the local market is Bankable Farmer.   By many estimates, approximately 80% of the African population is engaged in agriculture and 60% of those that make a living from it are crippled by a lack of access to financial services to grow. Many are geographically distant from banking networks and lack access to the tools and resources that would make them more bankable. Many farmers are not financially literate or literate at all. On the positive side, the rise of mobile has given previously isolated farmers access to a broader network and provided connectivity to the larger world. Agriculture is a huge opportunity for banks but it is very difficult for them to measure risk so they can make lending decisions, especially to small farmers without a conventional credit profile and in many cases, no national ID system that allows banks to even identify them.   Innovation can now bridge that gap and drive impact. Bankable Farmer sets out to create credit risk profiles for smallholder farmers through partnerships with farming cooperatives, banks, nongovernmental organisations and agri-tech startups. The goal is to try and inject more information into the lending process — giving banks the information they need through non-traditional means to be able to have confidence to make loans to farmers that are credit-worthy but don’t have a traditional credit profile.

Many small farmers already use a mobile money platform for transactions and their activity can generate insight into the risk they present. Psychometric tests, precision agricultural data and other data— such as crop yields and weather data —provides a picture of how well a plot of land is faring. You can now even analyse social media interactions, looking at who farmers communicate with. Bankable Farmer can pull useful information from all this data, and combine and analyse it, so banks can more holistically score a farmer. Part of the


Innovating for impact is a clear win for everyone project is also helping to educate farmers, making them more financially literate and crop-capable so they understand the importance of a solid credit history and have the highest chance of success with each harvest. This helps drive engagement and provides a tangible social benefit back to the local economy. Working with farming cooperatives to drive user engagement and

to allow for real market testing is essential. When developing a new product, you are more likely to be successful if you work with customer and the end user from the outset to understand their challenges and what capabilities and functionalities will be necessary for their ease of use. Bankable Farmer is just one small example of how innovation can drive impact. Providing capital that will enable small farmers to grow helps to tackle both food shortages and economic opportunity. If farmers have more access to capital, they can build up their farms,

implement more modern farming techniques and increase productivity. Without mobile capabilities and access to interact with this data, this would not be possible. In the years ahead, we will see many more examples of innovation leading the way in driving positive societal impact. Companies that embrace this trend will attract top tier talent, increase customer engagement and see an influx of capital as investors turn their attention to this space. I am certain this will also drive profits. Innovating for impact is a clear win for everyone.



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