The Global Innovation Competition is unique.
It is not just a competition, but an opportunity for the kind of intensive collaboration, training and support that most project teams will simply never have access to.
For the last five days,15 teams have worked with mentors on research, technology, gender and communications to improve, adapt and re-think some of their ideas before making their case for funding to the competition jury.
Last night, we announced nine winners, representing ideas from The Philippines, Indonesia, Ghana, Mozambique, Uganda, Kenya and Pakistan.
At Making All Voices Count, we often talk about the numbers of applications we received for the GIC, about the competitive screening rounds and the public voting.
They are impressive statistics - hundreds of applications, three rounds of screening, and over 30,000 public votes cast from as far apart as Honolulu, Nigeria and South Africa. But on Monday, as finalists sat down together at iSpace in Accra, Ghana, I also reflected on the fact that most of these teams had spent hours, days even, on planes, buses and trains to get here.
For many, this was preceded by weeks of wrangling over visas and travel insurance. Some also had their first taste of yellow fever inoculations (sorry guys). It was a good metaphor for the challenges and struggles they are going to face in implementing their projects.
But, when I looked around the room, what struck me was that we had managed to find an incredibly diverse group who were already talking to each other, already swapping e-mail addresses and already asking for help from teams they would never otherwise have met.
Our focus on how ‘innovation and technology’ impacts governance had not prevented a variety of ages, experience and project size: the youngest participant this year was 23 years old and the oldest was 50, and there were nine brand new ideas but also six projects have been tried and tested and are now looking to scale up.
What have we been doing?
Over the last five days, these teams have been working with (and worked hard by) a team of mentors. They were asked to think differently, adapt their projects where necessary, and to share their expertise with other groups who might need help.
The GIC process is all about transformation. These finalists that are able and willing to learn and grow, are the ones that rise to the top. — Scott Stiefvater, GIC mentor
This year’s winners
We have nine winners this year representing ideas from The Philippines, Indonesia, Ghana, Mozambique, Uganda, Kenya and Pakistan.
Huge congratulations to all the winners, and to all the finalists. It wasn’t easy to get here and it won’t be easy to implement your projects, all of which ask for partnerships from government, civil society and the public – an aim that is ambitious and challenging.
We look forward to seeing your ideas as fully-fledged projects, and to see what you learn that we can all share with other new projects across the world.
This was a week of intensive work, nervous presentations and new ideas but, as we said at the end of last year's GIC: 'now the hard work really begins...'
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