And the winners are… Aguapallet of New Zealand and Instanet of Sweden
27 May 2014, NEW YORK – UNICEF and Socialab, a leading Chilean innovation non-profit, today announced the winners of a four–month-long innovation challenge aimed at creating new solutions for people hit by disasters.
The winning ideas are a system from Instanet of Sweden that restores emergency telecommunications using powered parachutes, and a pallet that doubles as a vessel for drinking water from Aguapallet of New Zealand.
The two companies beat out hundreds of other innovators to receive $15,000 in seed funding and travel to Chile in July to develop their projects in the Socialab space.
“Socialab is excited to help incubate these two projects with such huge potential,” said Julian Ugarte, Director of Socialab. “And I want to congratulate all those who dared to share their ideas on our open innovation platform.”
Nearly 300 projects, competing from 50 different countries on five continents, participated. Competitors had to design solutions in the areas of healthcare, energy, information communication and water and food, and were evaluated by nearly 30 experts in emergencies, innovation, business and child rights.
Instanet presented a system that uses a network of balloons carrying cellphone and Internet connectivity devices to restore emergency telecommunications and lost communication pathways. The project also tracks cell phone devices, critical in locating people who may be lost or have lost contact.
“First 72 hours presented a creative challenge,” said Joakim Larsson, one of the creators of Instanet. “Most important was the cause. Working with creative ideas is fun, but when you have the opportunity to combine it with good causes you are using a creative mind to its full potential.”
Aguapallet is a pallet to export products that can also be used as a water container. This allows large quantities of drinking water to be delivered, without taking up a lot of space, and using existing distribution systems. For the inventors, it was personal.
“We started this project because we wanted to create things that have a positive impact on the lives of people and stay in people’s lives forever,” said Moira and Shaun Craill of the Aguapallet team. “We want the world to think about future generations solving current problems. We were present in the Christchurch earthquake of June 2011 in New Zealand and that’s when you realize what’s important in life. When you have a family around all you care about is a roof, food and water.”
“I thought we had a great balance in the winners,” said Mac Glovinsky, Lead, Innovation in Humanitarian Action of UNICEF’s New York Headquarters, and one of the organizers and judges of the challenge. “Aguapallet isn’t so technologically driven as it is about putting yourself in the place of someone affected by an emergency and thinking about what you could make with the resources around you, while Instanet uses cutting edge technology and creative thinking about new materials to provide a critical solution.”
Learn more about Instanet:
Learn more about Aguapallet: