As the preparations for this year’s Xynteo Exchange/Norway pick up pace, we remain obsessed with unearthing new solutions to the systemic challenges we face today – from climate change and biodiversity loss, to sustainable consumption and the future of work.
In this context, the role of collaboration creates an exciting space for new thinking and action – a feature that has increasingly become a core differentiator for the Exchange.
One of the key elements of the Exchange format is the ‘Studio’, where participants draw on their experience and talent to co-create commercial solutions that address real-world challenges set by select purpose-driven businesses.
Last year, Yara – one of the world's leading fertiliser companies and a provider of environmental solutions – hosted one such Studio. Some of the systemic challenges that Yara explored in their studio at the Exchange were; increasing the adoption of digital technologies amongst smallholder farmers, incentivizing a shift to green products/production and building a new dynamic generation of agri-preneurs in Africa.'
Since then, one of the concepts generated at the 2018 Exchange has developed into a programme called Generation Africa. Launched earlier this year with Strive Masiyiwa, founder of Econet Wireless (and also a speaker at the 2019 Exchange), Generation Africa provides agri-preneurs with the necessary education, technology and capital to scale their ideas and create meaningful jobs for the millions of young Africans joining the workforce each year.
At the 2018 Exchange, Yara developed other approaches for supporting young people, resulting in a partnership with Young Sustainable Impact (YSI). Together, they are working to empower women through technology and by designing business models to take innovations to markets across the food value chain.
As these programmes gain momentum, they also act as reminders to the ideas that are still waiting to be discovered and supported. This is the strength of the Studio – enabling perspectives and new thinking through a conversation between the boardroom and the field.
As the Yara CEO, and Chair of the Xynteo Exchange, Svein Tore Holsether, explains, “I’m impatient when it comes to concrete outcomes. The Xynteo Exchange is all about outcomes. So, let’s use this opportunity to be concrete and make the Exchange the arena for radical cooperation.”