General

Partnership with Wattopia

In 2015 WASHNote initiated a partnership with Wattopia (before: Sustainability Services).  Wattopia aims to effectuate the energy transition in the Dutch built environment by building transition tools. The company works on a sustainable, affordable and attractive living environment and is driven by the challenges formed by the energy transition: moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, aiming to fulfill our commitments to the Paris Agreement.

Wattopia works together with local and regional governments, building companies, housing corporations, knowledge institutes, and suppliers. Wattopia operates at the level of neighborhoods, houses, and components within the houses. Products that were developed by Wattopia recently include the design and development of a quality mark for sustainable housing, an API design for standardization of monitoring energy performance in houses, and an in-depth process design that describes how a district can move away from the use of natural gas.

Since 2015, WASHNote and Wattopia have been innovating research and data infrastructure for market development, research and transition management towards more sustainable futures in WASH and energy. We share staff time, research infrastructure and develop joint concepts around data and sustainable services.

When a thousand ideas collide

This blog post has originally been posted on medium.com.

Today I am traveling to Denmark to join a group of the most inspiring people around. In Copenhagen, I join a 1000 young people from all over the world to discuss, ideate and design solutions to the most pressing issues we are currently facing. Apart from beautiful memories, ideas, inspiring contacts, new friends and partnerships I hope to bring back home a firm belief in the ability of this generation to secure a healthy and safe environment for our own and future generations. Firstly, by ensuring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are met by 2030.

The ‘Unleash talents’ in Denmark are centered around seven themes: sustainable production & consumption, health, food, energy, education, urban sustainability, and water. In the next 9 days, we map the problem areas, ideate solutions, exchange ideas, develop prototypes, form partnerships, and learn a lot together. This first innovation lab is the start of a global community that works on accelerating progress towards the SDGs.

My main focus during Unleash is on SDG 6.1; achieving sustainable and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water. Globally, there are over 650 million people without access to safely managed drinking water services. Many national governments, local and international stakeholders are monitoring the state of water infrastructure to target resources and investments efficiently. Collecting data on the state of water infrastructure is good practice and it will help us to reach universal access, however, we often see that the collection efforts are one-off or the data remain within a single organization, limiting the potential the data provide. I focus on how different audiences can best use the data to improve services. This includes advice on national monitoring systems, technical details on sharing water point data and bringing together stakeholders to discuss progress. This is the angle on the water theme I’m taking with me to Denmark and I am interested in developing ideas along the advocacy of using water point data, products and (automating) services that set up solid systems that help stakeholders to engage with water point data.

Proportion of population using at least basic water services in 2015 (retrieved from JMP 2017 – Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene)

 

This week provides the entrepreneurs, academics, engineers and other experts at UNLEASH to exchange ideas on all the different themes. Together with a colleague student at university I once developed an Agent-Based Model that we used to explore how the probability of ideas colliding within a population spurs specialization and innovation. We explored how the collective skill level of communities that were suddenly isolated deteriorated as the number of exchanges with other people and other ideas went down. In contrast, we also saw a rise in specialization and skills among communities that have an increasing amount of exchanges.

“By exchanging, human beings discovered ‘the division of labour’, the specialisation of efforts and talents for mutual gain.” — Matt Ridley

Every talent at Unleash brings own ideas, beliefs, and perspectives, from own cultures and backgrounds. It is mighty interesting to see the ideas and perspectives of a 1000 bright, motivated and/or concerned people colliding and I’m both grateful and proud to be among them in Denmark.