To build a climate-resilient future, we need an all-hands-on-deck approach across industries and organizations, as well as the leadership and collaboration of frontline communities themselves.
To that end, IDEO and CSAA Insurance Group worked together to unite nine partner organizations, including Aon and the Environmental Defense Fund, to launch an open call for solutions to help communities prevent, prepare for, and recover from climate-related disasters. The goal of the Challenge was to surface actionable and scalable ideas that experiment with new technologies, models, and partnerships, then provide innovators with the support and funding they need to get their ideas off the ground and into the hands of frontline communities.
IDEO set these entrepreneurs up for success throughout the submission process, holding one-on-one conversations with participants, sharing constructive feedback on potential solutions, and developing their ideas and skill sets. The team also hosted workshop and panel sessions to grow community bonds and provide expertise on critical topics, including assessing climate risk and storytelling for impact. Hundreds of ideas came in from around the world, ranging from harnessing the power of AI, to building resilient infrastructures, to democratizing access to climate data, and more.
Once all of the ideas were in, a cohort of judges with a wide diversity of work and lived experience screened for concepts that were relevant, impactful, novel, community-informed, and equitable. At the end of the Challenge, the team chose 13 winning concepts with high potential for impact and partnerships, including Reef Rocket, which seeks to fabricate natural biocement reefs that reduce coastal flooding and erosion, and BurnBot, which is working to prevent wildfires by conducting controlled burns at scale.
For these winning entrepreneurs, the end of the Challenge is just the beginning. Now, they are equipped with critical early funding, as well as a cohort of climate entrepreneurs, along with mentorship from IDEO, CSAA, and the other organizations. It’s a big step forward as they introduce new forms of equitable and transparent data, promote the voices of BIPOC communities, and bring to market new technologies that will protect and support frontline communities through this ongoing crisis.
Read the Challenge Impact Report to learn more.