7 SecondMusings in September

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September is shaping up to be a big month for us. Together with our partners, we’re tackling some of the big issues of our time. Sustainable palm oil production, climate resilience, and re-engineering aquaculture are just some of the global challenges we’re currently working on. Through the LAUNCH platform, we’re also focused on identifying global solutions in areas like chemistry, materials, and nutrition and bringing together diverse networks to support them to scale.

Why do we try to address such complex issues collaboratively? Because we think the current system of global economic expansion leaves our environment and too many people behind. We want to disrupt the current system for the better and find opportunities to build a more just and equitable world. It’s why we do what we do.

1. #SpaceApps at Cape Canaveral

Many of the global winners of NASA’s 2016 Space Apps Challenge will be at Kennedy Space Center on September 8th for the launch of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. This will be the first U.S. mission to collect a sample of an asteroid and return it to Earth for study. Katey Metzroth and Blake Garcia, who were part of the SecondMuse team that produced Space Apps, will be there as well to meet the global winners and organizers from their respective cities and to celebrate the success of Space Apps 2016.

According to NASA, “OSIRIS-REx will travel to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu, investigate it in detail, and collect a sample of surface material to return to Earth for study. Scientists expect that Bennu holds clues to the origin of the solar system and the source of the water and organic molecules that may have made their way to Earth.” It is expected that the satellite will reach its asteroid target in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023. Follow @OSIRISRex on Twitter as well as the hashtags #ToBennuAndBack and #SpaceApps for the latest news on the launch.

2. Smarter Chemistry

The LAUNCH Chemistry Challenge, looking to fuel smarter chemistry for a greener future, lifted off with a Facebook Live kick-off in Philadelphia in late August. Inspired by and in service of the U.S. Materials Genome Initiative (MGI)*, LAUNCH Chemistry is working to break down barriers to innovation, catalyzing a richer data ecosystem to accelerate a new model for chemical production and use.  LAUNCH has also been invited to join the advisory board for a project run by the World Economic Forum’s Chemistry and Advanced Materials Industry segment. The project is called “Shaping the Future of Collaborative Innovation in Chemicals and Materials”. Share your gamechanging ideas with us through October 31!

3. Materials and Manufacturing

Closing the Loop‘s call for submissions closed a few days ago and we are eager to meet the selected innovators. We received nearly 100 submissions from around the globe focused on creating the shift towards closed loop systems and a circular economy.


4. Palm Oil Farming

Applications are also being reviewed for our SAWIT (Smallholders Advancing With Innovation and Technology) Challenge, which is all about farming sustainable palm oil. The most promising innovators will be invited to an Innovation Marketplace in Indonesia where they will work with key industry stakeholders to identify opportunities to implement and scale these innovations.

5. Food and Nutrition

In mid-August, dozens of nutrition experts and key players in the food industry including the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation came together at IKEA headquarters in Malmö, Sweden to brainstorm around our LAUNCH Food Challenge, looking to turn the tide on malnutrition and poor health around the world. Ahead of issuing the call for innovative submissions in mid-September, we are creating a digital Global Food Diary where individuals from around the world are sending pictures or short videos of healthy meals they are eating in their homes. Send your picture or video to kendra@launch.org to be part of it. Selfies are allowed and encouraged – as long as we can see the food, too!

6. Climate Resilience

Also in September the World Bank Big Data Innovation Challenge kicks off. It’s all about “rethinking climate resilience through big data solutions” and, as you can imagine, is unleashing the power of big data solutions to tackle climate change-related issues related to food security, nutrition, landscapes, forests and watersheds.

At the same time (I told you we were busy, didn’t I?), SecondMuse partner Todd Khozein will be presenting at the Business Innovation Factory September 14-15 in Providence, RI. He’ll talk about the importance of creating systems-level collaborations to tackle the world’s toughest challenges. Creating that kind of collaboration is at the heart of what we do at SecondMuse and LAUNCH, encouraging network-centered innovation, creativity and inclusivity.


7. Sustainable Aquaculture

Back to business. On September 16, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will be in Washington D.C. at Our Oceans conference as the winners will be announced for our Blue Economy Challenge, a collaboration between the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Conservation X Labs, the World Wildlife Fund and SecondMuse. By the time the application period closed for this challenge on June 30, we had received 220 applications in total, with 41 countries represented. The 20 finalists were announced the last week of August.

We know it’s a big world with big problems. All of these projects we’ve been talking about are pieces of a larger system, and SecondMuse likes to deal in systemic solutions. With what we have underway or about to start in September, we’re making headway toward those systemic solutions.

Carrie Freeman

About Carrie Freeman

Carrie Freeman is the managing partner of SecondMuse, responsible for the overall company strategic direction and performance. Prior to joining SecondMuse, Carrie worked for Intel Corporation as Director of Sustainable Business Innovation pioneering strategies such as a corporate impact investing fund and developing technology market solutions to solve global sustainability challenges. Carrie formed the corporate sustainability group and directed corporate-wide efforts working with key stakeholders to ensure industry leadership. Carrie regularly speaks globally on the roles of technology, sustainability and innovation and sits on several advisory boards.

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