Singapore next for ‘Unleash’ A global innovation lab serving the planet In 2017, Denmark hosted the very first UNLEASH Innovation Lab, gathering 1,000 talents from all over the world to develop solutions for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In 2018, Singapore will be the new host. Board Director Henrik Skovby speaks to ScandAsia. By Eva Eriksen
oard Director, Henrik Skovby, believes that the global community must embrace and collectively work to meet the SDGs for us to maintain a positive outlook on the future. The UN has formulated 17 global goals as a call action for ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring peace and prosperity for all people by 2030. To help meet these goals a consortium of passionate, core partners from both the private and public sectors created this innovation lab. “There is a very impor tant need for new innovative solutions, which cannot be developed only by governments, because they simply do not have the resources to finance and scale the required solutions,” says Henrik Skovby, Board Director, Unleash, and Chairman, Dalberg Group. Through a competitive process top talents from all over the world are invited to Unleash to design new global solutions through understanding global problems, generating ideas for solutions, prototyping these solutions, and creating implementation plans to bring their ideas to life. They will present to mentors and advisors, impact investors, and corporates that are interested in partnering and supporting new innovative solutions. The lab format is designed to help a diverse group of talents work together on breaking down complex challenges and designing solutions at an accelerated pace. Talents leverage a toolkit of innovation facilitation activities, and work with facilitators and advisors throughout the week to further their ideas. After the innovation lab ends, talents are a part 14 ScandAsia • April 2018
of a global network with perpetual access to the Unleash ecosystem, both for their Unleash ideas and for any SDGfocused ideas that they wish to pursue in the future. Additionally, Skovby explains how the young talents can influence corporates and companies to be more aware of their own impact and to create more sustainable solutions. “Daily, lots of companies are producing things that have a negative footprint on the planet. At Unleash, corporates can learn from young talents about their passions, preferences, new technologies, and what it will take to partner with the leaders of tomorrow.”
Why the young generation?
There are two reasons why Unleash focuses on a younger generation of talents. First, the younger generation is the one that will live with the consequences of today’s misuse of resources and who will experience the effects of climate change. This sense of urgency provokes the youth to take action more than the older generations. Secondly, today’s youth have an appetite for new business models and a willingness to quickly adapt to new technologies. This combination of technological awareness and innovative thinking needs to be leveraged in terms of finding new solutions. “Today, there is a sharing economy paradigm that for many young people is second nature,” Henrik Skovby says. “We need to think in new business models, and so it is important to get youth involved, because young people are much more
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