Boston, MA — Global innovation experts gathered in the United States at the ‘Solve at MIT’ Forum have designed a new set of challenges surrounding what they believe are the world’s most pressing sustainability issues, particularly those involving energy, rural transformation and hunger, digital divide and digital literacy.
Interactive sessions, held at the forum and led by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity, are the first stage in an international effort to see the world’s community of makers and innovators develop solutions for the benefit of humanity.
Gathered experts proposed dozens of related challenge questions to which there are still no clear answers, to include: How can we make cities more food and energy self-sufficient? How can we use technology to engage young people in rural communities, improving wellness while increasing entrepreneurialism? How do we build a healthy, inclusive digital citizenship and digital literacy across culture, geography, and conflicts?
The insight of the participants is seen as essential to defining specific challenges ensuring the solutions that ultimately emerge truly address real-world problems, can be scaled to the widest possible degree, bring tangible benefit to people’s lives, and reflect the purpose and vision of this initiative.
Badr Al Olama, Head of the GMIS Organising Committee, said: “Our first Challenge Design Workshop created ideas and sparked insights, demonstrating the power and value of collaborative thinking and knowledge-sharing. The workshop in Boston has enabled international experts from a diverse range of fields to make a pivotal contribution to the MBR Global Makers Challenge.”
The initiative – launched on the sidelines of the inaugural Global Manufacturing & Industrialisation Summit (GMIS) at Paris-Sorbonne University, Abu Dhabi, in May 2017 – has the goal of building a global ecosystem that unlocks and accelerates innovation designed to enhance global prosperity, with one of its cornerstones being the Mohammed Bin Rashid (MBR) Global Makers Challenge.
Through the MBR Global Makers Challenge open innovation platform, a worldwide community of makers and innovators will employ a design thinking approach in producing new solutions to the most urgent issues faced by Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
The initiative is partnering with eight UN entities and MIT Solve – a globally-renowned innovation initiative of MIT – to develop specific challenges within four overarching areas: Sustainable Energy, Digital Divide and Digital Literacy, Rural Transformation and Zero Hunger, and Sustainable Cities.
The Solve event included representatives from institutions including IBM Research, Signature Group, Africans4Africa, RISE, Teach First, ImPACT, the Network of Executive Women, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Harvard Medical School, the Ford Foundation, and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS).
Alex Amouyel, Executive Director, Solve, said: “Challenges of the kind that affect the very fabric of our world – and of people’s lives – come with a level of complexity that can only be tackled through collaborative innovation and the harnessing of ingenuity on an international scale. Solve sees the MBR Global Makers Challenge as an opportunity for innovators around the world to leave a true imprint on the world, advancing themselves while benefiting global society through their inspiration, pioneering spirit, and dedication to translating concepts into reality.”
Eight UN organizations have developed the four challenge themes, each relating to a major challenge faced by LDCs – nations that are collectively home to 880 million people and which face barriers to their sustainable development that can only be overcome through transformative innovation of the kind that the MBR Global Makers Challenge is designed to produce. The Initiative invites world-leading manufacturers and entrepreneurs to adopt one of the global themes identified by the UN agencies and work with them to help maximize the impact of the solutions developed to address these challenges.
The global manufacturer who adopts the challenge that produces the innovation with the greatest potential for impact and the greatest alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and which most reflects the four values of the Initiative – resilience, community, harmony, and dignity – will receive the prestigious MBR Global Prosperity Award.
For more information about the MBR Global Makers Challenge and for details of when the submission process will begin, visit firstname.lastname@example.org.