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UNLEASH 2018: An innovative lab for development ideas

UNLEASH-2018, Singapore hosted a thousand talents from one hundred and eight different countries. 

People from different cultures came together to discuss the sustainable development Goals. It's all about meeting new talents, having fun and generating UN sustainable development ideas. 

For me, it's the initiation of new innovation. It's my first experience to attend international UN program. I as well as Shewta Adhikari were representing YPARD Nepal. We all have colorful applicable ideas, but why doesn't it work? because your idea is only solving the current problem, think broad what if it may be applied in the future too. 

I left my home city in 28 may,2018 with excitement to meet the unleash organizing team. After arriving in Singapore on 29 may, 2018 the unleash team directed me to National University of Singapore. 30th may, 2018 welcome ceremony for all the unleash talents from different countries. They introduced the journey to unleash and activities with fun. UNLEASH-2018 works with eight themes that relate to the SDGs: zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, clean water and sanitation, clean and affordable energy, sustainable cities and communities, responsible supply chain and consumption and climate action.

The innovation process

It is the first step to defining a problem and developing a better solution for implementing. The aim of innovation lab is to advance idea and solution through the unleash innovation process. It is a stepwise process and finally leads to the decision of application. 

Different unleash facilitators and experts contributed to the process. The innovation lab consists of five phases: problem framing, ideation, prototyping, testing, and implementing. UNLEASH lab primarily focuses on the first four-phases while the implementing phase will be the focus of the event.

Problem framing is developing a well-defined problem statement based on user/customer wants and actionable insights. Ideation is to come up with a multitude of ideas that address the problem framing. eliminate ideas and choose one to focus on. Prototyping is to create a tangible prototype of the idea so that a potential user can experience the proposed solution. Testing is to get user/customer feedback on the prototype. make changes to your solution. evaluate if there is a need to go back to an earlier stage or iteration. While implementing is to produce, disseminate, distribute, sell, or market the solution to actual users and customers. during the process of innovation day, we face from different problem and gate checklist phases. My SDGs themes for unleash-2018 is SDGs 2: Zero hunger. UNLEASH 2018

On the first day of innovation process development of team by the formation of Sub-themes. Based on sub-themes, organizers formed different groups.  Introduction phase is completed by sharing insight and development of user's frame. During this day talent and experts work within themes to share and expand upon their insights into global challenges. 

The following days of challenge and advancement of ideas through the innovation process through self-directed activities. We developed a problem framework tree which must be passed through the unleash gate check during the journey map process. The team must work on the time basis of activity cards. The first step of journey map is to over cross the gate check, then we can go to the next innovative problem solution phase. Why, who and how? Question framing to users/customers for development of solution canvas. We must run through the user profile, market analysis, Brainstorming guidelines, planting idea, gate check and finally pitch the idea on the sixth day. 

The last day of the innovation process, each team pitch ideas to their peers and experts. Each team presented their solution in three minutes within their theme. All talents and experts will evaluate the solution by various criteria to find the best two solutions per track that get the chance to be presented in a Dragon's Den format where a panel of investors and experts will give feedback and select the winner per track.  

During the whole process of innovation, unleash SDGs roadmaps for interaction and inspiration key to solving problems. SDGs roadmap inspired the talents to find a new solution or to improve the ideas they already-haves, unleash took us around Singapore to meet inspiring and dedicated people, who provided us some of the most unique, innovative and sustainable solutions. The talents are divided into their themes and guided on their respective tours. 

Edible garden city

The edible garden city is the closed loop to the urban farming system that integrates the natural system with modern technology. Discussion by IFAD (UN's International Fund for Agriculture Development) about the future of food and which global trends will affect our future food system. A 45-minutes of a multi-sensory tour of Citizen Farm, to see mushroom cultivation has grown from spawn to fruit only in Singapore, Microgreens Cultivation, Aquaponics, Hydroponics, aeroponics, and solid waste management by using insects. In addition to all the above experience, I got the chance of experiencing the dragon boating, a close look of botanical garden, an artificial tree, garden by the Bay, and Sentosa beach.

As a final celebration on June 6, all talents gathered at the biggest exhibition hall Suntec Convention Center. There we celebrated by business leaders, sector experts, and partners representatives.  Unleash make honor to introduce speaker Mdm Halimah Yacob, the president of the Republic of Singapore (First Female president), Jose Ramos-Horta, Nobel peace prize laureate, Sophia, Robot and UNDP innovation champion, Forest Whitaker, Academy Award-winning actor and UNESCO Special Envoy for peace and reconciliation, and Piyush Gupta, CEO of DBS Bank.

During the ceremony based on their evaluation, talent team is awarded different categories; global scalability potential, best innovation, promotion of gender equality, most inclusive solution and multi-sector partnership.


Picture credit: Bikram Nepali