8 THINGS WE LEARNED | HIGH-TECH LOW-COST SOLUTIONS SEMINAR

Last week we attended the ‘High-tech low-cost solutions – a road to SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) innovation’ seminar organised by the BoP Learning Lab. At the DTU SkyLab, the day brought together a number of industries to discuss how cheap, innovative technologies could be more broadly applied to benefit humanity. Check out what we learned:
  • Many amazing solutions start as technologies for the ‘developing’ world. Top money transfer app Mobile Pay was actually spawned from INDEX: Award 2013 Finalist M-PESA. M-PESA, one of the most popular mobile payment systems in the developing world, allows users to withdraw or transfer money without needing a bank. This incredibly reliable and corrupt-free design is making monetary transactions and payments available for millions of people in Africa.
  • AI and big data can play a huge role in driving SDG innovation. How? By giving us a somewhat ‘predictive’ advantage. For example, now that sustainability is becoming more mainstream, companies – ranging from car makers to wineries – are using cognitive computing to improve efficiency and help forecast consumer trends.
  • The experts say stakeholder collaboration is essential for innovation. Consumer Products Industry Expert from IBM, Trevor Davis, a key speaker at the seminar, stressed that “balancing the stakeholder toolkit” is key. He explained that many start-ups can struggle with establishment due to a lack of thorough stakeholder involvement. For example, many just focus on the funding aspects without thinking more broadly about what support they need for long-term survival.
  • Global health and financial inclusion are a key focus for Danish businesses. We’re seeing a clear trend of Danish start-ups focusing on developing tech to improve global health and make financial management more palatable. One compelling example is new banking app Lunar, which just raised €4.2M in funding.
  • Malnutrition is a leading contributor to the poverty cycle. But, not just in the way you think. Not having enough to eat is an huge problem for obvious reasons. But, did you know what the brain develops in a completely different way if you’re undernourished? Check out a project that’s tackling this problem with the humble sweet potato.
  • There’s a Danish company that provides cheap pay-as-you-go solar power. M-PAYG’s goal is to improve access to affordable, clean and reliable energy for in those in developing countries. But, this service is a classic example of something made for the developing world, which could easy be applied anywhere.
  • The SDG’s are at the top of the agenda in Denmark. Some great news! The private and public sectors are clearly prioritising their contributions, which was made clear by the vast range of attendees at the seminar. Adding to that…
  • Danish public knowledge of the SDG’s appears to be very strong. At the seminar we were all given a small quiz involving some detailed questions about the SDG’s. Remarkably, about 70% of the participants were able to correctly answer each question!

A huge thanks to the BoP Learning Lab for organising the event! Do you have a solution that addresses one of the 17 SDG’s? Nominate it for INDEX: Award 2017 now!

 

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