Announcing the winners of the future of conservation NGOs global Innovation Challenge

The Luc Hoffmann Institute, the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) and Impact Hub are pleased to announce the winners of the future of conservation NGOs Innovation Challenge. 

The Innovation Challenge was launched on 21 April 2022, with the aim of surfacing innovative ideas and solutions that proactively address the deep-rooted issues facing the conservation sector and impacting conservation effectiveness. 

Nine innovative ideas have been selected that are challenging dominant conservation narratives, redesigning conservation approaches and reimagining the conservation space to create a more just, equitable and regenerative future. Each of the winning ideas touch upon one or more of the four broad themes, identified collectively during the first phase of “The future of conservation NGOs“ initiative, as areas where change is most needed. The winning ideas represent a wide array of conservation efforts – international, local, rural, and urban – from the coastal communities in Maldives to the urban population in Greece.  

The winners will receive €5,000 in prize money and a place in a tailored co-learning and incubation programme with either the Luc Hoffmann Institute, Impact Hub or IUCN CEESP. The collaborative programmes of co-learning and incubation will start this month, with the host institutions working alongside the winners to take their ideas to the next level of implementation or testing.

Click here to see the list of winning ideas.

About the challenge

The Innovation Challenge sought ideas to explore possible futures of conservation NGOs and their new roles in effectively approaching and managing nature conservation work. 

The challenge sought solution-driven concepts proactively addressing deep-rooted issues facing the conservation sector such as legacies of discrimination and social and economic inequalities perpetrated by existing power structures and reinforced by entrenched narratives. The challenge was open to anyone, from any sector, experience or background, with a vision for the future of conservation practices and an idea challenging the existing approaches, structures and narratives adversely impacting conservation effectiveness.

A total of 173 ideas from 58 different countries around the world were received. The infographic below shows the geographic spread of the ideas.

Geographic Distribution of Ideas

Future of Conservation NGOs Geographic Distribution of Ideas

All  applications went through a rigorous evaluation process involving a review by a diverse panel with a range of expertise, from community-based conservation and business development to entrepreneurship. The review panel was faced with a tough choice from among many inspiring applications.  The judges were really impressed  by the variety of ideas and potential of the solutions submitted.  

“We’ve been delighted by the calibre of the applicants so far, coming from every corner of the world, and are looking forward to harnessing the power of our global community of changemakers to turn these innovators’ dreams into reality,” said Bruno Lacey, Programme Manager at Impact Hub.

Congratulations to the winners!

As we celebrate the winning ideas, we also celebrate the vibrant community of innovators and entrepreneurs who applied to the challenge and of thought-leaders who helped establish the challenge themes and stand poised to help take the ideas forward. All have displayed the ability to take risks, think out of the box, collaborate and lead in ways that create more value for people and the planet.