Hosting an UNLEASH Hack FAQ

The Program

What are UNLEASH Hacks?

UNLEASH Hacks are two-day localized, scalable, and cost-efficient innovation processes designed to address sustainability challenges in specific contexts around the world. During an UNLEASH Hack participants work in teams to come up with innovative ideas that can create a real positive impact in their local communities while gaining relevant skills and knowledge on how to address sustainability challenges of the future. UNLEASH Hacks can be run online, in-person, or in a hybrid format with some participants connecting online to an in-person venue.

Who can host an UNLEASH Hack?

Any UNLEASH Alumni who have participated in previous UNLEASH Innovation Labs or UNLEASH Hacks are eligible to host an UNLEASH Hack. However, organizing an UNLEASH Hack should not be undertaken by a single individual. UNLEASH Hacks are hosted by an Organizing Team (OT)

What is an Organizing Team (OT)?

Organizing an UNLEASH Hack cannot be undertaken by a single individual. UNLEASH Hacks are hosted by an Organizing Team (OT): a group of 4-5 individuals with varied experiences and skills who are responsible for planning and executing an UNLEASH Hack. If you are the person initiating an UNLEASH Hack, you are also considered part of the OT. Organizing Teams can consist of UNLEASH Alumni and non-UNLEASH Alumni, but the Lead OT member must be an UNLEASH Alumni.

I want to organize an UNLEASH Hack but I’m not an Alumni. What can I do?

You can reach out to UNLEASH Alumni who have participated in previous Innovation Labs or Hacks, and create an Organizing Team together. Their experience and connection to the UNLEASH network can be invaluable in ensuring the success of your UNLEASH Hack. You can start by connecting with UNLEASH Ambassadors, who can help you meet people in the UNLEASH Community. 

What’s the difference between UNLEASH Hacks and UNLEASH Innovation Labs?

UNLEASH Innovation Labs and UNLEASH Hacks share a lot of similarities in that they both drive innovation towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), upskill Talents with human-centered design-thinking tools, and build a Community of passionate individuals. Below you will see some ways in which UNLEASH Innovation Labs and UNLEASH Hacks differ.

  • Duration: UNLEASH Hacks take place over 2 days, whereas UNLEASH Innovation Labs run over  5 to 7 days.
  • Scope: UNLEASH Hacks focuses on a specific challenge faced by local communities, whereas UNLEASH Innovation Labs address multiple SDGs.
  • Scale: UNLEASH Hacks typically have between 30-60 Talents, whereas UNLEASH Innovation Labs gather at least 200 Talents. 
  • Content: UNLEASH Hacks use a condensed version of the UNLEASH Innovation Lab Activity Cards to accommodate the two-day schedule.  

Leadership: UNLEASH Hacks are completely community-driven. You and your OT will decide when an UNLEASH Hack will take place, what issues it will address, and how it will take place. You will also be responsible for sourcing Facilitators, finding participants, and executing the Hack.

If I host an UNLEASH Hack will I have any support from UNLEASH?

The Organizing Team is responsible for planning and executing an UNLEASH Hack. The UNLEASH Secretariat and the UNLEASH Hacks Committee will provide support for key activities and resources, including, communications templates, Miro templates, and UNLEASH Activity Cards. Access to all these resources will be shared with the Organizing Team when they sign a memorandum of understanding with UNLEASH to host the Hack. However, UNLEASH does not provide financial support to OTs to organize UNLEASH Hacks.

How long does it take to plan an UNLEASH Hack?

Although the UNLEASH Hack takes place over 2 days, the planning process takes 4 to 6 months. Before proceeding with hosting an UNLEASH Hack make sure you have the time, resources, and capacity over the next 4 to 6 months to undertake the process.

When can UNLEASH Hacks take place?

Hacks do not have a set date for when they must take place. You can organize your Hack at least 3 months after receiving approval from UNLEASH, and no later than December, 15 2024. If you have any hesitation about selecting specific dates, please write to [email protected].

Can I host an UNLEASH Hack with my organization?

Absolutely! The Innovation Methodology behind UNLEASH Hacks is the perfect way to inspire your team to think creatively and approach an organizational challenge from a user-centric perspective. However, the standard Intellectual Property shared with Organizing Teams does not allow them to use the UNLEASH Methodology for commercial purposes, which includes restricting UNLEASH Hack participants to within an organization. If you plan to host an UNLEASH Hack with your organization. please indicate so in your application. The Secretariat will contact you to discuss potential options.

The Application

How do I apply to host an UNLEASH Hack?

On our Community Platform, you will find more information about UNLEASH Hacks, and the link to the application form.

Applications to host an UNLEASH Hack will be open from April 4 to April 25, 23.59 GMT.

How can I prepare for my application?

In the Community Platform you will find the UNLEASH Hacks Organizing Team Booklet, a detailed document that will help you understand better the process of hosting an UNLEASH Hack. Read it carefully so you can design an UNLEASH Hack that supports your ambition of mobilizing your community.

What are the evaluation criteria?

Your application to host an UNLEASH Hack will be reviewed within the framework of the guidance provided in the UNLEASH Hacks Organizing Team Booklet. We will review the concept of the Hack, including the thematic focus and scope of participation, how aligned your timeline is to recommendations, and if your OT has what it takes to execute a successful UNLEASH Hack. 


The intent of UNLEASH is not to ‘reject’ any applications, but rather provide a gate-check to ensure all the necessary pieces are in place for a successful event. Upon reviewing your application, the team may ask you to revise and resubmit certain information. If you follow closely the guidance provided in the UNLEASH Hacks Organizing Team Booklet, minimal tweaks, if any, will be suggested to you to make your Hack’s concept robust and implementable.

How do I access the Community Platform?

If you are an UNLEASH Alumni, you received an invitation to join the UNLEASH Community Platform at the e-mail address you used to sign up for the program. This email would have been sent within a month of the end of the first UNLEASH program you took part in. If you can’t find it, check your spam inbox, sometimes it ends up there. If you are unable to locate that invitation, please write to [email protected] from the email address you used to sign up for your first UNLEASH program to ask for support. 

Do you have any questions about UNLEASH Hacks?