Leaders from business, start-ups, academia and research institutions are meeting at the Xynteo Exchange/Norway to advance a new growth model fit for the 21st century. At the heart of the Exchange is a series of Studios, where we will bring leaders together to try to develop commercial solutions to human problems.


Movement in pursuit of opportunity has always been part of the human experience – and essential to socio-economic development. But migration has now reached record levels: more people are being forced to leave their homes through conflict, climate change, poverty and repression than at any time since WWII. Although the integration of displaced people is contentious and poses ever-larger challenges, it could also constitute a massive opportunity – but only if we create and implement radically different solutions.


In this Studio, hosted by Mastercard and the Norwegian Refugee Council in partnership with the Munch Museum, we will catalyse action around the imperative to innovate for a planet on the move.


On day one, we will interrogate the complex nature of real-world problems, and explore how our capabilities could be brought to bear in solutions. On day two, we will identify potential interventions within these problem areas, with the aim of developing early-stage concepts for projects that can deliver both human and commercial value. Finally, we will select the most promising concepts to present in the Marketplace.

At Mastercard, we believe that the power of collaboration is best unlocked by levering the core expertise of different partners to achieve common goals. This idea is at the core of the Studio we are hosting with the Norwegian Council for Refugees in partnership with the Munch Museum at the Xynteo Exchange/Norway. In this Studio, we will catalyse commercial action around the imperative to innovate for a planet on the move – a planet where over 65.6 million are currently living in forced displacement.

Tara Nathan, Executive Vice President, Public Private Partnerships, Mastercard

Problem Statements


Accessing adequate and secure housing is challenging for refugees, as landlords hesitate to rent due to unclear legal status, lack of financial guarantees or simply negative perceptions. The increasing demand for housing sends rental prices soaring, making housing a contentious issue with locals. For the vast majority of refugees who live outside camps, rent is by far the largest single expense, as well as the most critical need.


The Challenge: How might we provide both Syrian refugees and host communities with access to adequate housing?


Many refugee-hosting countries are not capitalizing on the sizeable untapped talent pool within their refugee populations, leading to thousands of people — many highly skilled such as doctors, teachers, engineers — remaining unemployed or working in informal jobs. The access to formal opportunities is often limited by a range of factors, including government policy, legal status, prejudice and issues with authentication or conversion of qualifications.


The Challenge: How might we match refugee populations’ workforce availability, skills and experience with the demands of the formal market?


Many refugee camps have long outlived their intended lifespans and exceeded their population capacity, turning them into unliveable permanent settlements. As a result they suffer from precarious infrastructure, poor basic service provision, and economic and social isolation.


The Challenge: How might we make the residents of refugee camps fully productive and more integrated, perhaps by leveraging digital solutions?


Refugee-hosting African countries like Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya have hosted the lion’s share of refugees, which has put massive pressure on their limited infrastructure. Bottom-up creativity and innovation from local and refugee communities has often been undervalued, hampering entrepreneurial initiatives and further fuelling tensions and displacement.


The Challenge: How might we promote bottom-up innovation from refugees and local communities in fragile economies?


Many young refugees are prevented from re-entering higher education for reasons ranging from financial constraints and language barriers to lack of transferable qualifications or even necessary registration documents.


The Challenge: How might we enable more refugees to re-enter universities to improve their prospects of becoming economically productive in host communities?

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