Design Thinking for Innovative Problem Solving
How can Design Thinking help to identify challenges and support innovation in SMEs and NGOs?
- Designing and running workshops on how to use Design Thinking to drive successful innovation and identify challenges in SMEs and NGOs during Facebook’s Digital Durchstarten series of workshops
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Blockchain Pioneers Hackathon
Blockchain4Good – Shaping Smart Sustainable Cities for the Future
Bratislava –> Berlin –> Shanghai
Blockchain Pioneers 2018 is coming to Berlin! Join the hackathon to build a blockchain solution from scratch that shapes cities of tomorrow! Win 20.000 DCT, mentoring as well as a trip to join the Shanghai International Blockchain Week 2018 (SIBW) in Shanghai!
You have 2.5 day to hack, meet pioneers, entrepreneurs, techies and changemakers, learn from experts in the field of blockchain and social innovation and receive one-on-one mentoring to create your blockchain solutions that shapes smart sustainable cities.
We will focus on the following tracks:
Government | Mobility & Logistics | Energy | Finance | Health
- 20.000 DCT, mentoring & collaboration with DECENT to implement the solution
- Compete with the winners from all global DECENT hackathons
- 4x ticket + trip to the Shanghai International Blockchain Week 2018 in Shanghai (tickets + flight tickets + accommodation)
- 1x ticket + trip to the Shanghai International Blockchain Week 2018 in Shanghai (tickets + flight tickets + accommodation)
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Global Sustainability Trend Report
How can we access grass-route innovators to understand emerging trends and innovation that will affect business strategies in the future?
Europe, Middle East & Africa, North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific
- Scouted +150 sustainable experts & pioneers via our global Impact Hub network to gain insights into industries such as: Agriculture, Automotive, Transportation, Electronics, Energy, Consumer, Goods, Food, Health and Construction
- Identified stakeholders and insights from different fields such as industry, regulations, NGO, investors, start-up / Entrepreneurs, Academia, science, digital experts, multipliers, opinion leaders, pioneers to conduct one-on-one interviews as well as a global survey
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Employee Accelerator to redesign intercultural education
How can employees learn new skills and gain a new mindset to reimagine their offer to match the new needs of pupils nowadays?
- Intrapreneurship Program to empower employees to redesign the future of their value proposition: intercultural education worldwide
- Innovation Bootcamp to teach design thinking and innovation skills and infiltrate a new mindset into the organisation via selected innovation ambassadors
- Ideation & Product sprint to design and build new solutions that turn pupils into creators. Their solutions will have a positive spillover to all SDGs
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GIZ Global Innovation
How-to-guide to Build Innovation Communities
- Identify need, ambition and outcome
- Global analysis of best practices formats for community-building and acceleration
- Screening of Impact Hub Berlin + global Impact Hub network for best case practices
- Synthesis, visualisation and creation of a hands-on guide with case studies
How can we share our global expertise and empower others to build strong innovation communities and empower local entrepreneurial ecosystems?
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Empower women and girls in tech from Accra, Manila, Odessa and Sao Paulo
How can we empower women in tech globally to close the gender digital divide?
Philippines (Manila), Ukraine (Odessa), Brazil (Sao Paulo), Germany (Berlin), Ghana (Accra)
- we ran local workshops in Manila, Odessa, Sao Paulo and Accra to connect and enable female leaders running ventures that empower women. After a pitch session the two most promising ventures were selected from each location
- Eight teams were invited to a one-week hackathon and pitch event in Berlin
- The winning teams presented on stage at the G20 Summit; with Chancellor Angela Merkel in attendance
Challenges women in tech face are universal
During the local workshops across four continents we wanted to understand the barriers and potential of women and girls in tech. The insights were surprising: each young female leader working in tech faces very similar challenges.
Barriers – what prevents women and girls from participating in tech, as users, content creators, employees, entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders?
- Stereotypes, culture doesn’t see women in tech roles
- Social inequality, violence and disrespect
- Poor educational systems, lack of ambitions & confidence
- Lack of information, lack of access to funding, lack of role models
Potentials – What are the potentials of digital technologies for women and girls in our country?
- Break boundaries and give access to knowledge and information; include marginalized groups
- Leverage entrepreneurship and empower female Womanpreneurs
- Portray more female techies as role models
- Increase diversity and inclusion at the workplace
Uniting forces to show
To foster local innovation and to support initiatives that empower women and girls in tech, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Google and Impact Hub Berlin organised a hackathon to develop solutions that address the gender digital divide. The challenge started with local exploration workshops that took place on 4 different continents in 4 different cities (Accra, Manila, Odessa and Sao Paulo) in March 2017. Around 50 young female leaders were gathered to discuss how women and girls can be actively supported to overcome the barriers in the digital world. After a local pitch event the most promising ventures were selected by a local jury. Four finalists were invited to Berlin where they took part in a hackathon. The winning teams presented on stage at the G20 Germany Summit 2017 and managed to score a selfie with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Every team received 6 months of mentoring to further improve their business and skills. They all became role models of women who empower women and girls in tech.
Local solutions are already making a global impact
Eight powerful initiatives from four continents rocked our world big time! While everyone is still in the process of realizing the devastating gender gap in tech, these young female leaders are already making a difference. With their work they fight for inclusion, confidence and becoming role models to inspire other women and girls to follow. Check out what they’re doing:
WORLD MAP IMPACT WITH LIZ + INFO OF TABLE BELOW IN THE MAP
Empower Marta, Sao Paulo – Empowerment of older women in tech in order to socially include them
InfoPreta, Sao Paulo – A project founded by transgenders to empower black women in computer skills and tech
Chasopys Share4Scale, Odessa – Coworking space, and community to raise awareness, break stereotypes between women and men in their job opportunities. Through education and mentorship, women get empowered to dare to lean in and become role models for other women.
It2School, Odessa – Tech education for girls to empower them to feel confident in a digital society
Jeepneed Tiny Labs, Manila – Encourage curiosity. Providing schools with hands-on science activity labs in order to get kids off the screens, encourage creativity and new innovative ideas which change the world
Aurelia & Amelia, Manila – An accessory-retailer that offers multi-style and multi-purpose fashion accessories using an online platform through which they seek improving market positions and incomes of female entrepreneurs
<Developers in Vogue/>, Accra – Building a community of highly skilled female developers who are passionate about using technology to revolutionize Africa and beyond. Training and mentorship in software development, data science and real time projects
DiFEP, Accra – Empowerment of women to get access to tech careers. Hands on training and assistance in getting certifications and internships in digital marketing
At the G20 Summit
When the magnitude of a project hits you: All eight teams managed to squeeze onto a selfie with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel 🙂
Watch the program video:
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Digital Imagination Challenge – Innovation Contest to Foster Inclusion
How can we empower tech solutions that reduce barriers for people with disability?
- Screening Germany for technological solutions that foster inclusion in all areas of everyday life
- Selecting top five initiatives and offering them a tailored curriculum, mentorship and network access in a short accelerator format
- Public pitch event with a renowned jury to position the importance of an inclusive society
How can we impact the life of millions of people?
Rapid technological development and digitalization have revolutionized our society and offer unprecedented opportunities and innovations that can change the lives of millions. Together with Unitymedia and Sozialhelden we looked for innovative ideas and solutions that use technology to break down barriers and enable inclusion at home, at work and in the leisure space.
#nobullshittech: when tech really makes a difference
Copy paste tech solutions, like food delivery, are neat because they make life convenient. But they are not revolutionary and often do not think the needs of people with disability alongside. We scouted 23 initiatives and ventures that created tech solutions that break down barriers and make society more inclusive. From AR to indoor navigation; every solution will change the life of millions of people.
Truly inclusive pitch event
Each of the five ventures that went through the program blew our mind, touched our hearts and inspired us to the bone. They shared their solutions with the public at a fully inclusive final pitch event in front of 100+ people with sign language translation and audio description in place.
1st prize: EiS-App, won 15.000 EUR, 3 months mentoring and Impact Hub Berlin Membership
2nd prize: Deaf Magazine, won 5.000 EUR, 3 months mentoring and Impact Hub Berlin Membership
3rd prize: Match My Maker, won 3 months mentoring and Impact Hub Berlin Membership
- 2 days bootcamp on lean canvas, impact logic and pitching
- 8 weeks coaching, focus on business model and pitching storyline and skills
- Access to the networks of Unitymedia, Impact Hub Berlin and Sozialhelden
- Peer to Peer support facilitation
- Mentoring by Unitymedia’s top tier management
- 23 applications
- 5 winning teams going through the acceleration program
- 3 winners to be further supported with mentoring and network access
- 2 winning teams sharing prize money of 20.000 EUR
Impact (& SDGs):
- SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities
- 5 Teams were supported for 8 weeks to make sense of their business and tell their stories
- the three winners were supported for further 3 months with mentoring and network access
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How can we empower and connect the local entrepreneurial ecosystem in Tunis and Amman and help them create new solution to improve sustainable production & consumption as well as create a better future for renewable energy?
Countries: Jordan, Tunisia, Germany
- Hosting of local Bootcamps in Amman and Tunis to inspire and empower people to become entrepreneurs and develop ideas
- Selection of most promising solutions in each location
- Bootcamp in Berlin to bring together teams from both countries, connect them to the Berlin ecosystem and help them further develop their solution
Accelerate MENA was a bilingual program (English – French) developed to inspire, build and connect social innovation ecosystems in the MENA region. Kicking off the program in Jordan and Tunisia, the project consisted of:
- Identifying key stakeholders and building an outreach network in Jordan and Tunisia including universities, existing projects, support institutions and innovation formats.
- 2.5-day ideation bootcamps in Amman and Tunis in English and French, in which solutions addressing SDG 12 and 7 were developed using Design Thinking.
- Impact Week in Berlin with the winning teams of each bootcamp to refine their solution developed and to connect them with each other as well as to the German social innovation ecosystem.
- Online mentoring for the winning teams.
We believe that the best approach to address today’s challenges is to build and support local and global ecosystems of motivated people who want drive change. Innovation is not always Silicon Valley – Anyone can come up with new ideas that solve problems we face. Topped with inspiration, guidance, the right tools and skill set, these ideas can quickly turn into real projects with real impact.
Accelerate MENA equipped our participants with the tools to develop responsible and inclusive business models around challenges that matter – be it Sustainable Consumption and Production (SDG 12) in Jordan or Renewable Energy (SDG 7) in Tunisia – and connected them to the right stakeholders. By running two-day Design Thinking innovation bootcamps in Amman and Tunis as well as an acceleration training in Berlin, Accelerate MENA aimed to strengthen the MENA social entrepreneurship scene through three core elements:
- Inspire – Inspire individuals to get active and create solutions that have a positive impact
- Enable – Enable an entrepreneurial mindset to create sustainable business solutions using Design Thinking
- Connect – Connect the local ecosystems within and between Jordan, Tunisia, and Germany to scale
The participants developed several ideas ranging from using biomass to empower small towns in Tunisia by producing and selling their own energy, to building a co-creation space for artists upcycling plastic, or designing energy-efficient housing in the dead sea regions.
Design Thinking can unleash creativity in Jordan
There are a lot of highly motivated people in Jordan, especially young students, who are eager and motivated to get involved in starting an impact project. However, there are not enough creative offers that encourage ideation yet, and Design Thinking is still a new concept. Closely connected to that, Design Thinking experts and trainers are quite rare. During the workshop we were amazed to see how open the bootcamp participants were to the process and how much energy they put into the team and project work. The final pitches at the end of the workshop in front of a jury pushed the participants to develop their idea further – they were on fire!
Creative Workshops are nice; but follow-ups make the difference
Apart from the high energy of the participants, we were overwhelmed to see that many existing projects had an implicit impact focus already, especially in Amman and the surrounding areas. While there are existing support opportunities for young entrepreneurs in Amman, such as the Zain campus where our bootcamp took place, enpact or Oasis 500, follow-up support opportunities for early stage ideas are still rare. Although the level of motivation was high, participants who came to our bootcamp with an idea often struggled to create a business model making their project or startup financially sustainable. There is a big demand for developing a skill set to push ideas further.
Need for more business modelling to make ideas come alive
Concluding, especially in the early project stages ranging from ideation to follow-up support for projects that have not turned into a business yet, support and funding is lacking. We had the feeling that many good ideas were not followed up upon, as incubation or mentoring opportunities to work on the business side were missing. Design Thinking and co-working are slowly arriving in Jordan, but were not common buzzwords yet.
Similar to Jordan, we loved how many female participants came to our workshop. The teams were very gender-inclusive and collaboration was highly encouraged. Although gender inclusivity and rights is of course still a big topic in the region, within the small context of our workshop and probably also within the younger age group it felt very natural to have diverse teams.
Strengthening Tunisia’s early-stage entrepreneurship ecosystem
Feedback we received from several ends indicated that the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Tunisia is still very early-stage with few players, support institutions and co-working spaces in the field. Especially amongst the older generation, becoming a founder is not yet as accepted as working for bigger corporates. Consequently, funding and investment is still a big topic and so is bureaucracy.
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Intrapreneurship – Accelerator for Employees to design digital MVPs
How can we empower employees to gain innovation skills to create relevant digital solutions that will strengthen local partnerships and have a positive impact?
Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Lesotho, Jordan, Thailand and Germany
The accelerator program for employees enabled six global teams to experience a hands-on innovation journey to design digital solutions:
- Selection of the top 5 solutions submitted to an online platform
- Bootcamp to kick-off the format and introduce all teams to design thinking skills
- 6 month guided innovation sprint that offered each team a process, coaching and financial funding to create MVPs. This took place across 5 different locations.
- Internal Pitch to a jury, members of the management board, and colleagues in the GIZ. It was live streamed to +450 people from all over the world.
- Funding and coaching for the implementation and scaling of the overall winning solution.
From Bureaucracy to Innovation
GIZ, the German development agency, is a rather classic, bureaucratic organisation – like most public organisations still are. So implementing and running a highly agile, user-centred and collaborative process was a challenge in itself: It required quite some imagination from everyone involved to overcome bureaucratic hurdles and pilot an accelerator like this. Also, telling the six participating teams of employees that the outcome of their innovation journey is a) open and b) uncertain; was baffling to them. In their world, a solution was already up-and-running since the moment they had put it on paper and won the selection process. Nonetheless, each team rose to the challenge of joining the innovation journey – even though they surprisingly found themselves outside of their comfort zone.
Each team had the support of a handpicked design thinking coach who guided and supported the entire process – this boosted the team’s confidence and enabled them to stay focused and motivated. Thanks to many success moments and inspiring aha-moments, they all managed to stick through the failures and hard pivots that are normal in the process of creating a new product/service. It was impressive to see that their hard work of validation and iteration sprints paid off: they developed real MVPs from scratch – that are now being piloted!
Learning-by-doing to identify internal barriers that prevent innovation
Transforming an organisation to become more agile and innovative is not easy. There is no magic potion or one-size-fits-all solution. This program combined two goals: It a) enabled every participant to boost their innovation skills during the sprints, and b) enabled them to develop scalable digital solutions (MVPs). Thereby the GIZ managed to identify organizational barriers and to foster innovation.
Enabling the teams to go through an iterative innovation process made organisational barriers very explicit. Using a very hands-on learning-by-doing approach was perfect – the GIZ was able to identify and understand internal hurdles or show-stoppers AND saw how creative workarounds and playing with wiggle-room was able to push the existing boundaries. We’re curious what new structures and processes the GIZ will created based upon the hands-on experience made by their first cohort of teams.
The best solution is not always digital
Each team entered the rally with a digital solution. A playful competitive vibe gave the Kick-off bootcamp a great energy boost. Each team was convinced they would create the best digital solution and win the funding to implement and scale their solution globally. Little did they know that their innovation journey was not going to be as easy and straightforward as they believed…
One of the teams was struck hard by reality – traditionally one might even say they “failed”. During the testing phase they had to accept that their key partner, a monopol, vetoed the slightest digital aspects of their solution that had the goal to optimise the local processes; making it impossible for the team to proceed. This “failure” was a big draw-back for the team – they wanted to resign from the program. However, the GIZ saw the valuable lesson this team learned and helped them to spin their biggest failure into a massive breakthrough: solving the problem they had putting the user’s needs first, not their solution.