Inspiration

I got inspired when I randomly saw a call for innovation published by WACA (an NGO) looking for solutions to coastal erosion happening in West African countries. I immediately thought that there were probably very few people that saw this call for innovation and started thinking how to increase the visibility.

What it does

PROBLEM:

  1. Sustainability challenges are both local and global at the same time. While there are many local or national efforts, these challenges often don´t respect the borders. We are currently lacking a globally coordinated response that would give space to the best minds in the world to come together and tackle them. Moreover, we lack a globally shared knowledge of such problems and their solutions.

  2. There are several public and private organizations that publish calls for innovations on sustainability on their respective websites or social media, however, they may not reach the targeted groups. Furthermore, if they can resolve the problems, the solutions are not widely shared.

  3. Many people are interested in contributing to sustainability-oriented projects (with their knowledge or resources). And many projects would need their contribution or expertise, but they are not connected.

SOLUTION:

My idea is to create an online platform that could serve several purposes:

  1. A website where an entity (a citizen, an organisation or a government) could place their call for innovation on sustainability-related issues. This would serve to aggregate all the calls around the world. Any researcher, expert or organization (consulting company, NGOs, etc.) can then apply to participate in the call through the website.

  2. A platform for sustainability challenges that could be related to point number 1 but not exclusively. Borrowing from the concept of a hackathon, it would bring together experts, public & private organizations from different domains to solve the challenges.

  3. An open-source repository for all the calls for innovation (point 1), sustainability challenges (point 2) and their solutions.

  4. A place where any citizen may ask about a sustainability problem they have in their area and anyone can answer with useful tips/solutions (something like Quora but only regarding sustainability issues)

5.Crowdfunding platform (similar to Kickstarter) for innovative solutions to the problems (points 1 & 2) that don´t have funding

How I plan to build it

Using Django, Python for the Back-end and React or VueJS for the front-end.

Needed team-members

Researchers, developers, designers, PR professionals, business development, sustainability experts, marketing, other interested

Challenges

  1. How to get the right people to use the platform:

    • Citizens, Governments, NGOs to post their calls for innovation
    • Researchers and experts to participate
  2. Funding for the non-funded projects

  3. The stimulus for sharing the outcomes and the solutions from the private sector (e.g. why would a company share its solution publicly?)

  4. When asking questions for local sustainable problems by citizens - how do we evaluate the accuracy of the proposed solutions.

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