The winners of the Climate Action Challenge (all photos by Marieke den Ouden)

This session marked the end of the Climate Action Challenge. Thirteen winners had one final opportunity to present their ideas and tell us of their progress over the past year in the Acceleration Phase supervised by Social Enterprise NL.

Before the winners took to the stage, challenge leader Dagan Cohen reminded us of the criteria used in selecting the winners. They had to be solutions that could be implemented in the relative short team (i.e. not in a decade), and they needed to be relevant, impactful, feasible, scalable, exciting and committed.

Elizabeth McKeon
, IKEA Foundation

After the presentations, three experts joined Dagan Cohen to reflect on the work. Jury member Elizabeth McKeon of IKEA Foundation expressed her delight at the achievements by reciting an African proverb: If you want to move fast, go alone. If you want to go far, move together. ‘A year ago we set off into the unknown. I’m thrilled to see the results of the past year.’

There was even a possibility, she noted, that some winners could work together. ‘When will the Keepers work The Vertical University?’ wondered McKeon. ‘What if the Free Wind and Desolenator projects be combined?’

Joel Towers, Parsons School of Design


Fellow jury member Joel Towers of Parsons School of Design in New York explained what the jury recognized in the winners. ‘We looked for work that makes us think differently, for entrants who reframed the questions.’ They needed to show clarity in articulating what they are answering.

Towers recognized two types of winners: those that could be implements immediately, like Twenty, and ones that challenge systems more holistically, like The Vertical University.

Mark Hillen, Social Enterprise NL


Mark Hillen of Social Enterprise NLstressed the need for the winners to make the most of this opportunity. ‘To move things, you need to tie people to your idea. You need early customers who believe in you, buy your product, even though they don’t know how it will work.’ McKeon advised the winners to keep their audience enthused. ‘People who want to be early disrupters want to hear how your project is evolving.’

Dagan Cohen opened the meet-up of the winners with entrepreneurs and NGOs


Dagan Cohen commented that the criteria used to assess new ideas in tech companies tend to be business driven, while some of these winners lend themselves more to a NGO project or communications campaign.

‘The design discipline is all about asking really good questions and creating new systems,’ concluded Cohen. ‘Modern design is more about creating systemic change than about creating beautiful stuff.’

Winner discuss their ideas with possible investors/partners

Team Change Rangers meets with Alexandre Gellert Paris of UN