Yanniek at Climate-KIC The Journey Summer School

One experience that might be worth sharing is the summer school program I have participated in this last summer: The Climate-KIC The Journey. It was a very nice experience since I learned new skills, enjoyed time abroad and had great co-participants. I would definitely encourage SDD students to take part in it, so let me here explain what it is all about.

Climate-KIC is an innovation partnership that tries to find new and creative solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. One way they try to do that is by organizing summer schools for students each year: The Climate-KIC The Journey. In this three or five-week program a group of around thirty students goes on an entrepreneurial journey together with as goal to pitch a start-up idea for a climate-friendly enterprise in front of a jury. Throughout the weeks you learn more about climate change, take part in design thinking workshops, improve your pitching skills, meet with entrepreneurs and work together with your peers to find innovative solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

The reason why I participated was to get a different view on how to approach and tackle climate change. I had no entrepreneurial experience before I started this journey and I saw this as a good opportunity to learn more about it. And in the end, I definitely did not regret that I applied. In my three-week journey in Zürich and Bologna I gained a lot of new insights and met some great new people. Every week day there was program from 9 a.m until 6 or 9 p.m. in which there was a good mix of site visits, workshops and trainings. I especially learned a lot about the pros and cons of running your own business and gained new tools to enhance creative thinking. It was a different approach than what one usually encounters in classes, since the focus was on doing, testing and prototyping rather than having extensive discussions and doing elaborate research. In the end three weeks is too short to come up with a comprehensive start-up idea, but it definitely gave one new and creative ideas for dealing with climate change.

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