Insight & Analysis

Press release: UNLEASH Innovation Lab is open for applications

Published: Apr 2019
Newspaper press release

2nd April 2019 – Shenzhen in China will be hosting UNLEASH Innovation Lab in 2019, November 6-13. Being a headquarter for many high-tech companies, an attractive place for startups, and a city dedicated to sustainable development, there is no doubt that Shenzhen will take UNLEASH to the next level. Applications are open from March 18-April 18.

UNLEASH gathers 1,000 young people between 20-35 years old in a new location each year to come up with solutions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This year Shenzhen will be hosting these talents, when they go through a week of innovation.

“We are very excited to be hosting the next UNLEASH Innovation Lab. Shenzhen is a city built on innovation and start-ups, which makes a great environment for young talents to come up with solutions to the Sustainable Development Goals”, says Mayor of Shenzhen, Chen Rugui, who is a great supporter of getting UNLEASH to China.

UNLEASH gathers talents from all over the world to find solutions to the Sustainable Development Goals.

UNLEASH started as an idea by the Chairman of the Carlsberg Foundation and Carlsberg Group, Flemming Besenbacher.

“I had a vision of creating the leading innovation lab for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Since the very successful event in Denmark, we have held another successful event in Singapore, and I’m very excited that the next event will take place in Shenzhen – a city known for its commitment to sustainability, innovation, and technology”, says Professor Flemming Besenbacher, who is also chairman of UNLEASH, and foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Anders Dons, Nordic CEO at Deloitte – a core partner since the very beginning of UNLEASH – is also looking forward to taking UNLEASH to the next level:

“Deloitte will once again lead the innovation workshop with our team of facilitators from across the world. They will guide the talents and help them accelerate and transform their ideas into sustainable solutions to the world’s biggest challenges – in just five days. The local culture has a great impact on the innovation journey the talents experience, and Shenzhen is the perfect start-up culture for new ideas to flourish,” he says.

In just nine months, two rounds of the UNLEASH Innovation Lab have taken place. UNLEASH has gathered almost 2,000 top talents from 143 countries all over the world to come up with solutions to the world’s most pressing problems resulting in 370 solutions to the Sustainable Development Goals.

“The core DNA of UNLEASH stays the same no matter where UNLEASH goes, but we are excited to see how our talents can be inspired and influenced by Chinese culture. It will be interesting to see how it will affect the type of solutions developed at UNLEASH” says Executive Director of UNLEASH and Chairman of Dalberg Group, Henrik Skovby.

In Shenzhen, UNLEASH will again gather 1,000 people from all over the world, as well as involve civil society and private public sector in the innovation process.

What will happen at UNLEASH 2019?

The talents will be working in teams which are decided based on the SDG-theme they are interested in. They will then go through the UNLEASH innovation process, before pitching and attending the Closing Ceremony.

November 6: Kick-off and welcome to Shenzhen:

Talents are introduced to the city of Shenzhen, the Sustainable Development Goals, and each other.

November 7-11: SDG Innovation Lab

Talents convene around core SDG themes to co-create and generate tangible solutions to global challenges.

November 12-13: Culmination and UNLEASH Closing Ceremony

UNLEASH culminates with massive collaboration activities and closing ceremony. The best solutions will be given awards and some of the most influential people in the world will speak about the importance of the 2030 Agenda.

Who should apply?

UNLEASH accepts top talents typically aged 20-35. Successful applicants will excel across 5 general criteria.

  • Demonstrated passion and commitment to solving one of the world’s pressing challenges.
  • Possession of a creative and innovative mindset.
  • Willingness to engage in co-creation with peers and experts.
  • High proficiency in English with the ability to engage in complex discussions.
  • Bonus: working in the field in a global context

The profiles UNLEASH is looking for are:

  • Entrepreneur: Recently launched/or considered launching start-ups, organizations or campaigns at a very early stage (both non- and for-profit).
  • Intrapreneur: Improved or changed entities, e.g. through R&D;, business development or organizational changes.
  • Academic: Top class academic with in-depth content knowledge, e.g. via courses, research projects or a PhD.
  • Technical expert: Posses skills, tools and know-how (e.g. with engineering, design or finance) enabling development of physical or software-based solutions.

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