TheUNLEASH Innovation Lab is a lab that is designed to bring together1000 talents from all over the world to bring about solutions toreach the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. I was extremelyfortunate to make it to the final 1000 from 18000+ aspirants whoapplied.
Itwas held in Shenzhen from 6th November to 13th November, and thispast week has been one of the best and most fruitful weeks of mylife. Not only did I learn about the SDGs, I had the honour ofmeeting and engaging in conversation with people from all over theworld.
Iwas a part of the SDG 3: Good Health and Well Being, and as I dealtwith a problem, focussing on maternal mortality in underdevelopedcountries, it dawned on me that the world is not as we see it. As“millennials” we must take all actions in our power to help inbettering this planet.
Webegan our journey on the 6th of November with an opening ceremony,that was graced with the presence of notable personalities like DrAlaa Murabit and Robert Kirkpatrick. Their speeches on SDG advocacywas inspiring and gave us the motivation to work harder towards theSDG solutions.
Thenext day we began with the Innovation process at the China NationalGene Bank, and were divided into our teams. My team was culturallydiverse with a Libyan, Somalian, Ethiopian, Nigerian and Indian onit. Even though there were so many cultures and so many differentthought processes, we managed to power through and were one of thefirst teams to complete our gate checks, with full support from thefacilitators. Our solution created a refrigerator without electricityto keep medication cool, even in times of power-cuts. It was called“ASILI: Nature’s Refrigerator”. We made a great pitch, butsadly weren’t given the opportunity to pitch again at the Dragon’sDen. The pitch in itself, was a wholesome experience. After this wehad a marketplace where we could put up our solution and view otherpeople’s solutions from other tracks too. To see the amazing thingsthat were achieved throughout the week, was overwhelming.
Theclosing ceremony held on the last day was the most enlighteningexperience I have ever had. Two of the speakers at the ceremony wereNobel Peace Prize Laureates, Lehmay Gbowee and Muhamad Yunus. Theirjourneys had a great impact on me and it humbled me even more. Theceremony left us all with mixed feelings. I was sad because I wasleaving all these beautiful friends I had made from all over theworld, but at the same time there was a feeling of happiness andsatisfaction with the work I had done. I felt like I had left my markon the world and maybe someday would be able to pursue it.
Inmy time at UNLEASH, I learnt that this process is not about pitchingand winning, it is about the innovation process. It is about comingup with viable, sustainable solutions that the people from all overthe world can identify with and implement to make this a safe,sustainable and harmonious place to live. We are not each other’scompetitors, but are each other’s greatest allies in the fight toachieve the Sustainable Development Goals.