SDG Innovation – Live Sessions

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development puts forward a broad and ambitious agenda for global action on sustainable development. The scale and ambition of the Sustainable Development Goals require identifying new opportunities for innovation within development projects. Sustainability and innovations are also increasingly overlapping within corporate structures in discussions on how businesses can meet their long-term objectives and goals. The adaptive ability to identify new market opportunities is key for business resiliency but also for business to thrive and not just survive in this new market economy. In order to make a concrete move in sounding the importance of SDGs for businesses, UN Global Compact collaborated with UN SDSN Youth in organizing live discussion sessions to explore the transformative vision of The 2030 Agenda. The live sessions were held into six sessions, bringing up six different topics surrounding the ideas and implementations of the SDGs.The SDG Innovation – Live Sessions consisted as follows:

1. SDG Innovations Live Session: Why It Matters: Let’s Talk SDGs! — 28 Feb 2023

To begin the journey, UN Global Compact and UNSDSN organized a live discussion that strived to explore the trends impacting the achievement of the SDGs and the importance of intrapreneurship in co-creating solutions that benefit everyone. This session also addressed the interplay between innovation and the SDGs and the enormous market opportunities for companies committed to solving some of humanity’s biggest challenges. This event was held virtually on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, and invited various numerous speakers comprised:

  • Kerry Constabile, Managing Director of Sustainability at Standard Chartered Bank.
  • Lauren Kiel, General Manager of Bloomberg Green.
  • Simeon Ehui, Managing Director for Sustainable Development of World Bank Group.

2. Live Session #1: Design Thinking! — 22 Mar 2023

In this session, participants were invited to a session with Lydia Goodner, Product Owner of Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Wicked Problem Solving product team, to discuss about utilizing the power of systems thinking and creative collaborations to solve complex and uncertain problems. Lydia oversaw a portion of the Wicked Problem Solving product suite and taught a few quick methods to gather and visualize information to make things happen that lead to change. The exploration of the design thinking pushed the practice of intentional planning, tools, and experiential practices in order to discover opportunities and work with cross-functional teams for equitable solutions.

3. Live Session #2: Defining and Validating Stakeholders: Developing Customers Personas — 2 May 2023

After understanding the fundamentals of design thinking, the next thing participants needed to understand revolved around defining their audience and developing customer personas around them. Personas are considered as crucial to understanding the target customers, based on real data, insights, and enriched with empathetic perspective. Participants were encouraged to do so in order to understand the customer’s needs, goals, pain points, and behaviors, also to guide their solutions development strategies moving forward. In this session, participants would be assisted to create user personas in the context of their sustainable product development, and how to validate and update them over time. This session was delivered by Gregory Reynolds, Vice President Customer Experience (CX) at Project Management Institute, on 2 May 2023.

4. Live Session #3: Can Lean Startup Tools Help YOU? — 17 May 2023

The next session, held on 17 May 2023, was an interactive session with Bob Dorf, one of the most knowledgeable Customer Development experts, number two after Steve Lank. Both of them spent nearly two years conceiving, outlining, drafting, rewriting, and revising the global bestseller, The Startup Owner’s Manual. Bob Dorf provided knowledge to participants on how to apply lean methodologies to create a sustainable business model that addresses the needs of the people and the planet. The Lean Startup is a methodology for developing new products or services that emphasizes rapid experimentation, iterative development, and customer feedback. By the end of this session, participants had been provided with a clear understanding of how to apply the Lean Canvas and Lean Methodologies to create a Sustainable Business Model and/or Product that aligns with the SDGs

5. Live Session #4: On Pretotyping. Prototyping and User Testing — 9 June 2023

In today’s fast-paced and competitive landscape, it is crucial for innovators to validate their ideas and designs early in the development process. This session focused on the essential methodologies of pretotyping, prototyping, and user testing, which play a pivotal role in driving innovation and ensuring successful product or service launches. Delivered by Christian Idiodi, Partner of Silicon Valley Product Group, in English with live Spanish translation, participants were invited to delve into the world of pretotyping, prototyping, and user testing processes that bring significance in driving innovation. Participants were provided with practical insights and tools to apply these methodologies within their own SDG Business Solutions, ensuring that their solutions meet user needs, mitigate risks, and achieve desired outcomes.

6. Live Session #5: Mastering the Art of Storytelling — 11 July 2023

In the last session, participants were encouraged to dig deeper the secrets of crafting a compelling narrative and creating a solid pitch that leaves a lasting impact. Participants explored the fundamental elements of storytelling and how they can be leveraged to resonate with diverse audiences, including a company’s upper management. This session was presented by Yusuf Omar, Co-Founder of SEEN. By the end of this session on 11 July 2023, participants were expected to understand the core elements of storytelling and how to apply it in pitching, learn how to structure their pitch for maximum impact, discover techniques for crafting a compelling narrative that resonates with their specific audience, and also gain insights into the psychology of storytelling and its persuasive effects.