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Open Innovation In The Big Apple

At the end of June in New York, a group of thinkers, doers, movers and shakers gathered to help turn global risks into business opportunities during the first Global Opportunity Lab, led by Sustainia, DNV GL and UN Global Compact.

The Lab forms part of the Global Opportunity Network’s open call for submissions for opportunities which respond to the world’s most complex challenges, and was designed to be a collaborative space which connected people across sectors and industries. More than 25 people took part in the facilitated sessions – ranging from leading academics, to start-up CEOs – to help define new markets for disruptive business.

The half-day workshop took place in the Innovation Loft, one of New York’s leading creative facilities, and encouraged dynamic group working which responded to the five systemic risks outlined for the next Global Opportunity Report, ranging from cybercrime to soil depletion.

Starting with a short scene-setter on the risks, participants were then asked to pick a coloured Lego block that put them into teams. A quick round of energetic brainstorming then led into deeper, facilitated group-conversations, as opportunities were identified, stress-tested, refined and consolidated. At the end of the sessions, five expert participants – representing each of the risks – gave their insights from the groups they joined.

Ashish Gadnis, CEO of BanQu, said:

“What surprised me most, in a positive way, about today was that although the five risks in their own way merit a lot, they are extremely interconnected, and I love the fact that this group of people are talking about them as a cohesive group.

“If you look at conflict, it has a direct relation to gender equality, a direct impact on climate, a direct impact on cities… so I love that we’re thinking about it as a cohesive subset which will allow us to build better opportunities.”

Bjørn Haugland, Chief Sustainability Officer, DNV GL, said:

“What we really strive for is to work with open innovation, to bring people together with different perspectives and different backgrounds, so we can work on solving some big social challenges together. That is the very foundation of the Global Opportunity Report, and what we saw in evidence during the Opportunity Lab.”

The Global Opportunity Network has extended the period for open submissions online, so there is still time to contribute to the next Global Opportunity Report and help turn global risks into business opportunities: http://www.globalopportunitynetwork.org/report-2017/#.V3AwfTfF7zI

Experts in the Global Opportunity Network will assess all the suggestions and help define which can go forward in the process. The Global Opportunity Report, published in 2017, will showcase 15 final opportunities.

Here’s a video of Ashish Gadnis, founder and CEO of BanQu, explaining how interconnected the risks are.

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