National Geographic unveils platform to solve the world's problems

The innovation lab will be run during the 2019 Semi Permanent festival.

National Geographic has created Make Good, a platform aimed at addressing humanitarian, societal and environmental challenges through innovation.

The platform, created with the help of R/GA Australia, is initially being launched as an intensive, three-day innovation lab dedicated to the problem of ocean pollution from single-use plastic, which contributes over 75% of marine debris.

It aims to unearth and develop early-stage ideas that either reduce plastic consumption through behavioural change; revive coastlines by removing plastic waste or keeping it out of oceans; or redesign existing products and services to be plastic-free.

The innovation lab will be run during the 2019 Semi Permanent festival, which for the first time, will also be a plastic-free event.

A panel of experts from National Geographic and R/GA will view submissions from individuals and teams before selecting participants for the lab, which will include inspirational talks, discussions, and one-on-one time with design, technology and marketing mentors.

At its conclusion, one idea will be chosen and showcased live at Semi Permanent, featured in National Geographic editorial, and further developed through ongoing R/GA mentorship.

“Big, complicated environmental issues like plastic pollution rarely have an obvious fix,” said Sam Boynton, the senior manager of business development and partnerships at National Geographic.

“So, we strongly believe that initiatives like Make Good are needed as a powerful means to identify, develop, and scale solutions that may otherwise have gone un-invented.”

Last month, National Geographic launched a sustainable menswear collection, as part of its consumer products strategy, which it launched globally in 2017 that saw it rethink how it reaches audiences.

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