HCL and UNLEASH, a global innovation program for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), announced a year-long collaboration to mobilize youth and develop innovative solutions to promote aquatic ecosystem conservation. These solutions will aim to tackle challenges from Source (mountains & glaciers) to Sink (oceans and seas) and their links to terrestrial ecosystems.
From Source to Sink
Nature and ocean conservation play a critical role in our survival. Terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems provide us with food, water, oxygen, energy, and medicines. They regulate our climate, provide pollination to crops, and reduce the impact of natural hazards. Despite the vital importance of our planet's ecosystems, we are experiencing a human-caused deterioration of our natural habitats: human activity has altered almost 75% of the Earth's terrestrial surface, squeezing wildlife and nature into an ever-smaller corner. Without maintaining healthy and biodiverse terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, the progress on the remaining United Nations' SDGs is at critical risk.
To tackle such challenges, UNLEASH and HCL will collaborate to establish a year of youth-led action. Specifically, the partnership will allow youth to develop solutions encompassing SDG 14 (Life below water) and SDG 15 (Life on land), and explore synergies with other SDGs as well. During the process, they will be guided by industry experts and receive hands-on support to ensure that solutions are relatable to the context and feasible in practice.
The UNLEASH methodology
UNLEASH has developed a methodology that leverages best practices in innovation, design thinking and human-centered design:
Defining a problem based on user needs and clear insights
Brainstorming and selecting ideas to solve the problem
Creating simple versions of the idea to understand how it will work in real-life
Validating aspects of the idea with real users and communities
Planning and launching impactful solutions
Global Innovation Lab, India
Every year, UNLEASH organizes a Global Innovation Lab, where 1,000 young people from all around the world gather to come up with solutions for a sustainable future for us all. This year, HCL's industry experts have collaborated closely with UNLEASH to establish the challenges that teams will solve when it comes to addressing aquatic conservation around the globe.
8 days of innovation
Arrival & Opening Ceremony
Kick-off to welcome and spark talent
Break into different themes to co-create solutions
Pitching & Closing Ceremony
Pitching of the ideas followed by an award show
UNLEASH Hack at Shiv Nadar Institution of Eminence
HCL is co-hosting the first-ever India in-person UNLEASH Hack at Shiv Nadar Institution of Eminence (SNIoE). These are local innovation sprints for young people to address their region's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Hacks provide participants with the right tools and skills to develop new ideas and solutions with positive local impact by spending two days zooming in on three crucial steps of the innovation process: problem framing, ideation, and prototyping. HCL and UNLEASH will host a Hack next November 4 focused on Fresh Water Conversation.
Shiv Nadar Foundation at UNLEASH Global Innovation Lab
The Shiv Nadar Foundation (SNF), established by Mr. Shiv Nadar, the Founder of HCL, is committed to creating sustainable rural development program by providing education in rural areas. The students and faculty members at the Foundation are driven to make a difference. Their participation at the UNLEASH Innovation Lab is another significant step which focuses on the ideology of"thinking global, eating local, and feeling universal." As FlemmingBesenbacher, UNLEASH Chairman, shares, "HCL's journey in innovation and development is an inspiration for the entire UNLEASH community. We are very grateful for their partnership on an important matter such as the aquatic conservation of our planet and finding solutions for its preservation through our different programs during the course of this year."
One of Shiv Nadar Foundation's many significant initiatives is VidyaGyan, a leadership academy that is improving the quality of education for deserving students. The alumni of VidyaGyan have also been engaged in creating a sustainable future through their innovative projects focused on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Along with this, approximately 30 participants from various institutions under the Shiv Nadar Foundation signed up for this global innovation program.
UNLEASH Plus is a 6-month incubation program for young entrepreneurs around the world working on solutions that contribute to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). On October 1, UNLEASH Plus hosted its Pitching Showcase, where the 86 participant teams pitched their solutions to a group of expert judges, who will decide which top 25 teams will advance to the next phase of the program: the Bootcamp hosted in UNLEASH India. Santhosh Jayaram, Global Head of Sustainability, HCLTech joined the session to hear the pitches from the 255 individuals in 86 teams at UNLEASH Plus Pitching Showcase to determine the top teams who have the potential to benefit from the next stage of UNLEASH Plus. Selected 25 teams will now experience the last phase of the program in an in-person Bootcamp during the Global Innovation Lab.