UNLEASH GREENLAND: REGIONAL FOCUS WITH GLOBAL IMPACT
The first UNLEASH Regional Innovation Lab gathered 200 young people from all corners of the Arctic and the Nordics, to work together on solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The young Talents spent a week in Nuuk prototyping 37 ideas to solve crucial challenges related to 3 different areas that this region is particularly sensitive to: healthcare, education, and biodiversity and climate change.
“The projects that came out of UNLEASH Greenland have very concrete value propositions with a clear pathway to their implementation. I look very much forward to witness how these solutions and methods are integrated in the Greenlandic society, creating a better and more sustainable Arctic.” says Chair of UNLEASH Prof. Flemming Besenbacher.
For the first time in an UNLEASH Innovation Lab, UNLEASH Greenland had a strong ambition to root the projects in the hosting country, with a potential to scale in the entire Arctic region. That is why, in parallel to their innovation work, the 200 Talents spent the week discovering the singularity of Greenland by visiting multiple organizations, interacting with many local actors and getting a deep understanding of the culture and knowledge of Indigenous peoples that shapes the region.
“My participation in UNLEASH Greenland has been an experience for life. UNLEASH helped me out of my comfort zone and I met people whom I happy to now call my friends. I am happy that UNLEASH came to Greenland. It provided Greenland the opportunity to be an important meeting point for discussions among other Arctic regions.” says Pipaluk Stephensen, UNLEASH Greenland Talent
UNLEASH Greenland also included a team of children (aged between 15 and 17) for the first time in UNLEASH’s history, thanks to a collaboration with UNICEF. This young team went through an adapted version of the UNLEASH methodology and designed the type of education that they would like to experience themselves: a bigger focus on experiential learning in the great outdoors of Greenland.
During the week-long innovation process, Talents got a visit from Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess of Denmark. They were also inspired by public figures such as Múte Bourup Egede, Premier of Greenland; Siila Watt-Cloutier, human rights advocate and Nobel prize nominee; Aqqaluk Lynge, former Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council; Aviaja Lyberth Hauptmann, PhD in microbiology; and Sebastian Aristotelis, space architect. They also received some virtual greetings from the Prime Minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen, and actor and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
At the end of the week, six teams presented their solutions to an expert panel of judges. All finalists will have the chance to join the incubator program UNLEASH Plus, and two of them were also awarded additional contributions. Chemonics, UNLEASH’s Lead Scale partner, will support the implementation of The Most Scalable Solution of the Lab. The Award was handed out to Loopoop, that aims to sustainably manage human waste in remote rural areas of the Arctic. Barry Liner, Chief Technical Officer at the Water Environment Federation and UNLEASH Facilitator, will also help their endeavors with networking opportunities. Alee Alee! created a dual model of hybrid teaching to support the mental health of Greenlandic young students, and was granted The Most Innovative Solution, with 50.000 DKK for the deployment of the project.
After the Lab, UNLEASH held an interactive session in the Arctic Circle conference, where a few UNLEASH Talents talked about their experience and wishes for the future of the Arctic youth.
The UNLEASH Greenland Lab may have come to an end, but the UNLEASH Community is now exploring opportunities to implement the solutions created and spread the design-thinking innovation method in Greenland. UNLEASH is also considering new destinations to keep the Arctic youth involved in the sustainability of the region.
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