Katerva – Accelerating the future…

It has been quite some time since my last post in Innovation papers, but I will try to pick up where I left it. I want to start sharing with you what I find to be one of the most interesting and worthwhile initiatives I am aware of in the field of Innovation, Sustainability and Human Progress. I am talking about Katerva and the Katerva Awards, the “Nobel Prize” of Sustainabilty.

A few months ago, Dr Bettina von Stamm, one of the key professors in the Deusto Master in Business Innovation program, invited me to join an Expert Panel to evaluate the 2015 Katerva Awards. I have to say that I was not familiar with Katerva nor with the work they have been doing for several years. Now that I do, I just want to help their quest with my humble contribution sharing their mission with all my contacts. Let’s see if we all can start a snowball running downhill to reach as many people as possible to help Katerva in their work.

Katerva, and let me quote from their own website (http://www.katerva.net/) as I will not be able to say it better than they do, was founded in 2010 by business intelligence strategist Terry Waghorn. It is a not-for-profit organization that finds, evaluates and accelerates disruptive, sustainable innovations that will show measurable impact on this planet in the next 10 years. Katerva comes from the Latin word Caterva which means “crowd.” Katerva’s distributed networks of CEOs, heads of state, ministers and policymakers, experts and academics, international organizations, youth, and technology innovators are fundamental to finding and then accelerating technologies for dramatic, positive changes that can be seen in our lifetime.

The Katerva Awards covers the best “sustainable innovations – anything that has the potential to achieve greater global wealth and human well-being while reducing our impact on the planet”. A winner in each of its ten categories (Behavioral Change, Economy, Energy & Power, Environment, Food, Gender Equality, Human Development, Materials, Resources & Water, Smart Cities, Transportation) is selected, resulting one of them in the global Katerva Award for the year.

I have been part of the Katerva Awards 2015 as an Expert in their Scalability panel (http://www.katerva.net/index.php/awards/expert-panels/scalability-panel/27-alvaro-urech) where we evaluated if the different proposal being reviewed were likely to be scaled up into high impact, wide ranging endeavours. There are also three other panels looking at Impact, Policy and Validation. I have to say that every idea that I evaluated (from the 100 finalists selected by the Katerva platform out of thousands of candidates) was worthwhile.

The winner of the Katerva Award 2015 was The Ocean Cleanup –– conceived in 2013 by Boyan Slat from the Netherlands, then only 19-years-old –– with the objective of carrying out the biggest ocean remediation challenge in history: to remove the “soup” of plastic bits floating in our oceans using a massive current-powered sieve. You can find more information about The Ocean Cleanup in the video below and in the Katerva website (http://www.katerva.net/index.php/news/78-the-ocean-cleanup-wins-katerva-the-nobel-prize-of-sustainability), including also the winners of the other categories. By the way, the winner in Transportation was Qualcomm Halo, providing wireless charging to electric vehicles.


If you would like to read more about Katerva, its mission, the awards or anything else, please have a look at their website (http://www.katerva.net/), I am sure you will find the initiative as interesting as I do!


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