During 30 May – 6 June the Danish initiative UNLEASH Innovation Lab took place in Singapore, as the next country to take on the challenge, focusing on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This programme is global, bringing together 1,000 carefully selected young talents from more than 100 countries, to collaborate on ideas and solutions for the UN goals.
After the inaugural Unleash in Denmark in 2017 Danish Prime Minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen in November 2017 handed over to Singapore to be the next host country in 2018.
“We each have a valuable contribution to make to sustainable development. I am happy that Singapore’s private sector will be hosting UNLEASH 2018 and doing their part for the Sustainable Development Agenda. This gathering of young, creative and innovative minds will harness the power of human ingenuity, to create imaginative solutions that achieve the SDGs,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong then said.
The participants coming to Singapore for the 8-day programme worked on themes and challenges related to the SDGs, including Food, Health, Education & ICT, Water & Sanitation, Energy, Sustainable Cities & Communities, Responsible Supply Chain & Consumption, and Climate Action.
Scheduled speakers included the founder of the World Toilet Organization Jack Sim; and the founder of the Mara Group Ashish Thakkar.
The talents went through a four-day Innovation Lab held at University Town, NUS and The Hive, NTU. The talents formed teams that worked on solutions within their area of expertise. The lab was facilitated by Deloitte, who has continued their involvement in Unleash from the previous edition.
On June 5, talents pitched their solutions to experts, mentors and peers. Talents then went on to showcase their solutions at the market place, which was held alongside Temasek’s Ecosperity conference at Suntec City. This event was open to the public, and people could stop by for inspiration and speak to the talents.
On the final day five winning teams were picked to receive special awards at the Unleash Awards Show at Suntec City. Here, local and international stakeholders convened to celebrate the work of the talents and to be inspired by international speakers, including President of Singapore Mdm Halimah Yacob; Nobel Peace Prize laureate José Ramos-Horta; Oscar-winning actor and UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation Forest Whitaker; CEO of DBS Bank Piyush Gupta; and UNDP Innovation Champion Sophia the Robot.