Who is going to lead the world in 20 years? What would have happened if established global leaders met not only when they were in their 50s, but already when they were in their 20s?
While many eyes are on the WEF in Davos next week, Sandbox, the foremost global network of exceptional innovators under 30 already this weekend (from 20 to 22 January) gathered 200 high-profile members from 32 countries in Europe’s City of the Year. The goal of the first ever Sandbox Global Summit was to foster meaningful relationships and ultimately accelerate the participants’ positive impact, through peer-to-peer sharing sessions and different bonding activities. The Summit also led to the creation of the Sandbox Playbook – rules that Sandboxers live and act by and could shape tomorrow’s world.
Over three days, Sandboxers from across the globe turned the city of Lisbon into a melting pot of the most innovative thinking, fresh ideas, and energy of a new generation of global leaders. Young innovators such as Cynthia Hellen from New York, founder of GIRLS WHO ROCK, a benefit concert fundraising for girls’ education worldwide while mentoring local volunteers to be leaders; Sebastian Lindstrom from Nairobi, who travelled 20 African countries to produce a documentary on young leaders with his What Took You So Long Foundation; and Marita Cheng from Sydney, recently announced as the Young Australian of the Year, founder of Robogals Global, who is using the art of building robots to get more girls excited about the engineering discipline, discussed their experiences, stories and key learnings from diverse fields.
In contrast to traditional speaker-led conferences, the Summit was based on collaborative learning consisting of 72 interactive and participant led sessions over 72 hours. The topics ranged from «How to have the luck of the Irish and pour the perfect pint of Guinness» by William McQuillan, Founder and CEO of UK-based Osmoda.com, to «Social enterprise future moulded by Asia» by Kalsoom Lakhani from Pakistan, Founder of Invest2Innovate, and Achyutha Sharma, Director of Sulochana Development Trust in India. The 72 hour long creative experience was complemented by the presence of key players from TED, IBM, Ashoka, Bloomberg, Bertelsmann, and others. Hosted at MUDE (Museum of Design and Fashion), the event had the official support of Lisbon’s City Council and of Beta-i, a local network promoting entrepreneurship and innovation.
A special open session was dedicated to Sandboxers focusing their collective brainpower to produce ideas and concrete suggestions on how to make Portugal a hotbed of innovation – and was joined by Portugal’s Minister for the Economy, Álvaro Santos Pereira. These insights will be shared with the public during the next days.
In the end, the outcome of every session at the Summit led to the shaping of rules that Sandboxers live and act by, the rules that change the game and could shape tomorrow’s world. Each rule illustrates a way how Sandboxers drive change by finding new ways of working, developing themselves and others, and having an impact on the world. These three tracks constitute the main frame of the outcome of the Summit.
“Our aim was to give space for Sandboxers from all over the world to come together, form meaningful relationships, inspire each other, and be able to engage in heated discussions. The key insights from these discussions will be published in the Sandbox Playbook, which we hope will inspire other innovators around the globe on how to maximize their positive impact”, said Sandbox’ CEO, Nico Luchsinger.
Kalsoom Lakhani, member from Washington D.C., on her blog summarizes her experience: “I met people who wowed me with their intelligence, ingenuity, and generosity. Almost everyone was doing something crazy and awes-spiring in their respective fields…using the community to not only help achieve their own goals, but to help other members do the same. Because of the peer-to-peer emphasis, Sandbox has the semblance of a family – complete with warm hugs, inside jokes, and endearing oddities.”
Sandbox is the foremost global community of extraordinary young innovators between 20 and 30. The growing community counts more than 650 young leaders in 48 different countries. The last regional summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, brought together 70 leading changemakers, and was one of over 300 events that have been organized by Sandbox over the last three years.