Seeking Better Solutions for a Brighter Future

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Mar 04, 2020
by Salzburg Global Seminar
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Seeking Better Solutions for a Brighter Future

Salzburg Global Seminar partners with World in 2050 to promote new global challenge Winners of the inaugural Olympics of Innovation will be invited to Salzburg in August

Salzburg Global Seminar is delighted to partner with virtual think tank World in 2050 for its inaugural 2050 Global Innovation Challenge.

The challenge, also known as the Olympics of Innovation, will recognize and celebrate the best start-ups, research, inventions, and organizations tackling the world’s most complex problems.

Split into seven categories, each of the clusters represents major trends that will be transformative for the planet’s long-term future. The categories include the Future of Society, the Future of Humanity, the Future of Energy, the Future of Health, the Future of Travel, the Future of Off World Civilizations, and Artistic Visions of the Future.

Once they have selected a megatrend, applicants can submit a startup, research, an idea, an invention, an organization, or something else. They must also upload a roadmap and essay.

Ana Rold, CEO and founder of World in 2050 and The Diplomatic Courier, said, “We’ve realized that to bring about solutions to some of these enormous challenges of our generation, we need a very interdisciplinary approach."

The challenge is looking to be as representative as possible, bringing together solution makers from different backgrounds, geographies, and sectors. Rold said, “We’re looking for projects that have been around for a while that are showing major success, and we’re also looking for sort of the diamonds in the rough…

“The outcome of this challenge is not just that seven organizations or people from these categories will win an award, but that the community will be created where they can learn from each other or they create partnerships where they can have more exposure on the work that they’re doing, and then eventually – beyond recognition and partnerships – they will also get funding.”

The challenge was launched at the ETH Zurich’s WEF Pavilion in Davos on January 21. Applications remain open until May 1, when the voting and selection process will begin.

Three members of Salzburg Global’s staff feature on the 20-person selection committee. This includes vice president and chief program officer Clare Shine, program director Dominic Regester, and program manager Faye Hobson. They are also joined by Salzburg Global Fellow and director of education at Nesta, Joysy John.

Discussing this year’s submission process, Rold said, “We want people to get comfortable with the process. Next year, it won’t be this long. It will be much shorter. But that means that if you apply on January 21 or on April 30, you’re still going to have the same sort of attention from the jury. The jury won’t look at the applications until the nomination process has closed… We say put forth the best application you can put forth, and take the time you need to put that together.”

Winners will be announced on August 27 and invited to a celebration at Salzburg Global Seminar between August 29 and September 1. Rold is a Salzburg Global Fellow, as are several other executive members of The Diplomatic Courier and World in 2050. She said, “We’ve benefited so much from these retreats and events and meetings that Salzburg hosts that we figured what an amazing way to create our new community, to have our new community be birthed through Salzburg Global…”

Partners, potential investors and others from World in 2050 and The Diplomatic Courier’s wider community will also attend the celebration. Rold said, “The idea is that first and foremost, we want to be able to celebrate our winners… After that comes the opportunity to be together for two to three days where, in an intimate environment, we get to learn about each other and we get to learn about their work, [and] we get to learn about their plans for the future.”

To submit your innovation and find out more about the challenge, please click here.