Reflections from UNLEASH LAB 2017

1,000 talents, 129 countries, nine days, one challenge: to create something that helps achieve the SDGs. For my group, that was SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. So much of this process seems daunting. 1,000 people?! What are we going to create? How will it be for strangers from different countries and cultures to work together? How can I even begin to make a difference toward achieving access to energy for all in just 5 days? 

But the process worked. After nine days in Copenhagen, Vestjyllands Højskole, a Danish Folk High School in Ringkøbing, and Aarhus, my team created a business plan that used drone technology to vastly improve the surveying process for micro grid developers in Tanzania, predicting significant annual revenue and helping to electrify the homes of millions of Tanzanians. We proposed a solution that used satellite imagery reinforced by drone and manual surveying to produce reports on the viability of potential deployments sites based on the stipulations provided by our clients, the micro grid development companies in Tanzania. This was cheaper and more efficient than their current processes and would expedite the deployment of vital micro grids to people who currently lack electricity in their homes. After many long days and even a few major shifts right at the very end, we created something that was impactful, we were proud of and took us all the way to the final round of the solution competition, the Dragon’s Den.

So many groups had inspiring, creative, and impactful ideas. It was amazing to behold the power of the process and what could actually be accomplished in just nine days. I am thrilled to see how my project and the projects of my fellow talents will continue to grow and improve as we move toward 2030.

We are all now linked by this incredible event that we were a part of and are all committed not just to the SDGs but to each other, to hold up the commitments we made at UNLEASH 2017 and to move our world towards a more sustainable future. While the goal of this conference was to create solutions, the memories and connections that I made will remain with me for the rest of my life. The challenges of this world are real, and the deadline is set for 2030. However, I feel more confident that these challenges can be overcome if we continue the spirit of communication, tolerance, and hard work that we fostered at UNLEASH 2017.

Read Emily Yox's previous blog on UNLEASH 2017 here