UNLEASH 2018: Part #1 - Reflections.
This year, I was fortunate enough to have been selected as one of 1000 sustainability practitioners from all over the world, to participate in UNLEASH. This intensive program took place in Singapore, where talents from 106 countries and multiple industries came together to problem solve around the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Divided into groups based on our industry experience (I was in SDG#12 - Sustainable Production & Consumption), for 8-days we envisioned, ideated, and created practical solutions for some of the biggest issues facing our world today.
Utilising design thinking as well as human-centred design methods, we went through a rigorous process of problem scoping, researching, ideating and prototyping, presenting and sharing our work with facilitators and experts along the way.
My group - team Hudadak, focused upon the issue of consumption, where we proposed a reusable coffee cup system, as part of a closed-loop university network. Through this, it was our aim to tackle the immense waste created by the millions of disposable coffee cups thrown into landfill each year, and encourage a system of reusability within users. At present within the U.K, 7 million disposable coffee cups are thrown away each day – that’s 2.5 billion every year. And because of their inside lining material being plastic, less than 1 per cent of these cups are recycled. This is a massive issue!! f you buy take-away hot drinks, please please please use a reusable cup. There’s so many amazing options out there today for reusables! Here are some great options: https://bit.ly/2tiOJ2F.
For our group it was all about the process, and not the final destination, where we relished in team bonding, and all the learnings and growth that came along the way.
My absolute biggest take-away from this program was the people! I met the most incredible, heart-centered and motivated individuals from all over the world, inspired and taking action into creating a better world for us all. I know I will have the pleasure to call some of these people my friends for life. Felling so grateful. Here, I learnt the importance of surrounding yourself with like-minded people, especially as doing this work can feel soooo lonely at times.
To really top it off, was the amount of immense fun we all had whilst working on these projects. These topics can be so heavy, and at times it can feel impossible, however, we all found a way to bring play, immense laughter and silliness into each moment. I honestly don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard continuously for one week straight (hellooo ab deck!). The answer to getting work done or achieving anything in life, I’m now convinced, is to have so much fun along the way, to enjoy the process, and incorporate play into every bit of it. This is golden!
Additionally, I’ve realised how continual expansion and learning is sooo important to me, and I’ve now made the commitment to put time aside each year to immerse myself in such stimulating events and environments.
This program further proved how innovation can be used as such a powerful tool for collaboration and connection, and that together we can be that much stronger, wiser, and a gazillion times more impactful.
I’m so hoping that there’s some way I can get involved again next year and continue the magic that is UNLEASH. This was an absolutely extraordinary experience, and I feel blessed to have been chosen to be a part of it. I am now back home in London, with a full heart and a flaming fire within me, calling me to action to make amazing shit happen.
You can watch a quick recap video here:
For any aspiring entrepreneurs, change-makers or anyone doing good stuff within their hood, apply for this next year!
So much love,