Young SDG Innovators

Cultivating the next generation of changemakers

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The Young SDG Innovators Programme (YSIP) activates future business leaders and changemakers and challenges them to rethink traditional business models and unlock new business opportunities.YSIP is an SDG business solutions accelerator programme for young professionals in participating Global Compact companies.

Teams of young professionals, called Innovators, work together under the guidance of mentors and facilitators, to identify opportunities and develop solutions that are relevant to their companies but have broader application towards innovation for the SDGs. The 10-month programme includes a mix of in-person activities, such as training workshops, live case studies, group exercises and challenges, as well as self-guided online learning.

 

Invest in the next generation of innovators

The Young SDG Innovators Programme is designed to engage your company’s brightest and best talent in not only advancing your sustainability efforts but driving innovation and delivering tangible solutions with potential market value for your company.

Programme benefits:

  • Accelerate integration of the SDGs into your company’s business strategy through collaboration, innovation, and knowledge sharing.
  • Create a culture of innovation to address the SDGs and showcase the programme’s tangible outputs and results.
  • Increase employee engagement and professional development opportunities for valued talent, including:
  • High-quality, cutting-edge and inspirational workshops from thought-leaders in the sustainability and disruptive technology fields.
  • Opportunities to provide mentorship and leadership in the programme, collaborate with innovation experts, and share best practices.
  • Tools, resources, and expertise by some of the leading innovative companies.
  • Gain global recognition for participation in the programme

Who Should Attend
As a participating company of the UN Global Compact and Global Compact Network UK, your company is eligible to nominate up to three high-performing young professionals for this inaugural programme. This programme is designed to target high-performing employees at companies participating in the UN Global Compact, who are 35 years or younger and have an interest in business model innovation, sustainability, and disruptive technologies.

The Curriculum
A comprehensive curriculum with a blend of learning opportunities, including online and in-person workshops, team exercises, case studies, company visits and forum discussions. During this ten-month accelerator programme, Innovators will:

  • Collaborate with thought leaders in a series of team exercises and interactive learning opportunities involving real-world challenges, peer feedback and sparring, and mentoring and coaching.
  • Connect to entrepreneurial young professionals from around the world to leverage the Sustainable Development Goals as a catalyst for the development of new products and services relevant to their business.
  • Build organisational learning skills that will enable employees across different functions to develop innovative solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals through new technologies, initiatives and business models.
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Programme overview

Innovation Camps
The Innovation Camps are two-day in-person training and activity sessions which allow for the Innovators to practically apply the tools and training they receive towards the solution they are building for their company, as well as learn from and share with each other. By setting the exercises in team settings, Innovators are able to interact with different company teams allowing for an exchange of ideas without compromising their individual company projects.

Each Camp features a first day which starts off with an overview of the programme, team formation and training workshops around the phase theme that is run by a facilitator. The facilitator serves as the moderator in charge of ensuring the Innovation Camp program runs smoothly and the Innovators are fully engaged. They help teams navigate the innovation process during the programme as well as work through group dynamic issues.

Following the training, Innovators break into their teams for an exercise in which they get the opportunity to practically apply the lessons from the workshop and self-guided learning to real-life business challenges. Teams work independently; however, facilitators (and Mentors, if they are attending the camp) monitor and guide their progress and lead the feedback sessions.

Field Visits
During the second day, the Innovators take part in a field visit to see a company that is putting the SDGs at the heart of innovation. The visit is organised as a live case study. This is an organisational design approach in which the focus is on experiential learning. The participants do not just hear from the company on what they are doing but are taken through the process, providing them with an insider’s perspective into the company’s innovation work and allowing them to ask questions and apply their own solutions to the company’s challenges.

During the second half of the second day, the Innovators break up into their project teams to review insights and takeaways from the one and a half days and their different team experiences. During this time, they identify next steps in their challenge or solution definition phase and report back to the rest of the group. In later phases of the programme, this segment of the Camp opens up into opportunities for peer sparring sessions where project teams give and receive feedback from other teams on their progress as they update others on their project solutions.

Online and Offline Activities
Taking place in between the Innovation Camps are several online and offline activities that offer Innovators self-guided online learning opportunities, guidance to direct their team project development and global webinars and virtual meetings that will connect the teams to each other from across the different countries running the programme.

  • Online activities provide Innovators the space for further upskilling and knowledge-building related to SDG innovation, breakthrough innovation, and other key concepts. Innovators will receive access to the online platform where they will see a global space as well as their own country page where they can receive information about the latest updates for their local programme (dates for upcoming Innovation Camps, backgrounds on speakers, notes from previous meetings, etc.) as well as follow the online global curriculum. In addition to pre- and post-reads from workshops and webinars, the online platform plays the main role in connecting Innovators to other teams around the world. Global online meetups and feedback sessions will take place online to bring Innovator teams together to showcase the progress of their projects and provide input and share ideas. The online platform will also include optional online challenges that Innovators can choose to take on that would allow them to work with others outside of their Networks/countries.
  • Offline: The majority of the project development will take place online. Project teams are expected to meet outside of the Innovation Camps and online activities to work on building their solution. Given the programme is 10-months long, it is not expected that teams will have finished solutions by the end of the programme but rather the aim is for them to have a refined idea and suitable prototype that can be presented to senior management within their company that has been tested and validated by other stakeholders. That ready state of the solution is dependent on the team and their sponsor to determine during the Solution Development phase of the programme. Guidance and training is provided for teams on how to prepare for the presentation to senior management, which is considered a major deliverable of the programme. (Note: It is a key responsibility of the Champions to set up the meeting for the Innovator team and ensure that the right members of senior management attend the presentation.) A version of this presentation will also be made at the conclusion of the programme in the final camp and during the solutions showcase.
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Global Innovation Camps

Connect to your global peer group
Global Innovation Camps are optional in-person workshops that will allow participants to meet with their global Innovator peers through case study discussions, small group exercises and dynamic workshops. In addition to the in-country Innovation Camps and online learning, the Global Innovation Camps offer extra opportunities for those interested to deepen their sustainability skillset, broaden their knowledge of global sustainable business practices and collaborate with peers outside their country.

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Programme calendar

A consolidated programme, including all activities, is below. Further information about each of the six key stages, along with the optional Solutions Showcase, is detailed underneath the table.

Onboarding Challenge Identification Challenge Definition Solutions Development Solutions Testing & Validation Offboarding
Business and the SDGs The Breakthrough Mindset Sustainable Business Models Disruptive Technologies SDG Impact Assessment Storytelling
Introduction to Breakthrough Innovation webinar (Hosted by John Elkington) Using SDGs as a Lens for Innovation Innovation Field Visit SDG Ideation Tools and Methods Prototyping SDG Solutions Identifying Key Stakeholders
Global Kickoff Workshop SDG Challenge Framing Challenge Presentations Rapid prototyping, or “Pretotyping” Innovation Field Visit Building Resilience
Networking Event

 

Challenge Lab: Identifying SDG Opportunities Communicating SDG Impact Solutions Presentations
Global innovation Camp Networking Event
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Programme Benefits

Participation Benefits:
  • Engage in accelerated learning opportunities that include online and in-person workshops, case studies, company visits and forum discussions
  • Connect with other business units and collaborate on innovative projects relative to the company and industry
  • Build work relationships through coaching, mentoring and peer-to-peer networking opportunities and learn from some of the brightest minds working on sustainability and innovation from around the world
  • Be part of a global network of leading young professionals from some of the top companies across every continent
Company Benefits:
  • Apply SDG innovation to solve real sustainability challenges within your organisation and industry
  • Integrate the SDGs into your company’s business strategy through collaboration, innovation and knowledge sharing
  • Increase employee engagement and professional development opportunities
  • Develop an expert network of leading professionals from some of the top companies across the globe
  • Gain global recognition for participation in the programme

Eligibility Requirements

  • High-performing employees at a participating company of the UN Global Compact
  • 35 years or younger
  • Interest in business innovations, sustainability, and disruptive technologies

Timeline

  • Call for nominations: April 2020 - August 2020
  • Program begins: September 2020
  • Program ends: June 2021

Fees

To offset the significant costs of delivering this programme, we will require participants to make financial contributions. The total costs are as follows:

Signatories £1500 for first 2 innovators
£750 for 3rd innovator
£500 for 4th innovator
Participants £1000 for the first 2 innovators
£500 for 3rd innovator
£300 for 4th innovator

Companies interested in joining the programme can contact Cynthia Adebiyi - Yekinni (details below). Due to demand and limited spots in the programme, the UK Network will need to confirm company participation before approved companies are able to put forward programme participants. Once company interest has been registered, you will be contacted by the UK Network on next steps.

For further information please see the YSIP Brochure 2020, our FAQs, or contact:

Cynthia Adebiyi-Yekinni
Global Goals Project Manager
Tel: +44 (0)7706440223
Email: cynthia.adebiyi-yekinni@unglobalcompact.org.uk

Young SDG Innovators Programme