Technology & Innovation
day one project

Reimagining the Future of Global Development: A moonshot accelerator to reach the SDGs

06.16.22 | 4 min read

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) articulate a bold set of targets for countries worldwide to achieve by 2030 to improve human development and overcome threats to extinction. To tackle the effects of a changing climate, eliminate poverty, ensure global access to education and clean water, eliminate hunger, and meet other ambitious goals, the global community must come together to generate new models to seed, scale and implement novel, catalytic solutions.

The Day One Project, in partnership with UnlockAid, is hosting a global development moonshot accelerator, including an in-person convention in August in Mexico City. We’re convening the world’s most innovative organizations to connect and collaborate on the way forward to tackle our bold goals. In addition to you, we’ll be inviting government and philanthropic funders that are in a position to bring proven ideas to scale. We hope you’ll join us.

Meeting the moment through moonshots

Our world has faced multiple existential threats at other points in history. And we’ve only been able to meet the moment through committed and coordinated leadership, mobilization of resources, and dedicated policy actions to unlock and catalyze innovation. A moonshot is an ambitious goal that is difficult to tackle, and requires innovative and often disruptive methods to achieve it, but will have profound societal impact once resolved. This moonshot accelerator is a call to action. We seek to generate fresh ideas to support the development and scaling of new innovation with discrete policy actions, to bring together decision makers at bilateral and multilateral institutions, and offer roadmaps of how to stand up and support the launch of these moonshots for development. We also intend to identify proven solutions that are “shovel ready” – those that, if given resources today, could immediately scale their impact to reach tens of millions of people around the world.

What is the Reimagining the Future of Global Development accelerator?

This accelerator guides participants as they develop a proposal into a tailored, actionable set of recommendations, focused on solving pressing global development issues. We’re looking for both new ideas as well as those that have been market-tested, can show evidence of impact, and ready to be brought to greater scale. The accelerator will kick off on July 25th with some pre-work and virtual introductory calls, leading up to a three day in-person event, August 17-19 in Mexico City.

What kinds of ideas are we looking for? To focus our efforts, the policy accelerator will focus on identifying moonshot ideas and scalable solutions to address the following thematic areas: 

We know innovation does not always mean new technology – it also means new operating models, processes, solidarity, movement, change, and ensuring that diverse perspectives are not only heard, but listened to and leading. When we talk about a moonshot, the goal is to make a big bet to solve a daunting challenge in an accelerated time period. With a goal of achieving the SDGs within this decade, we aim to develop blueprints for moonshot policies and related actions with you during this accelerator.

What will I get out of it?

Participants will have the chance to build a network of highly innovative individuals and organizations working on the SDGs. This includes entrepreneurs and big thinkers as well as funders and policymakers. Together, we’ll reimagine the sets of policy recommendations that major global development agencies need to adopt to create the ecosystem for other innovators to take on big global challenges. For those participants that have a big idea or a market-tested solution that address one or more of the SDGs, you’ll also be given the chance to pitch it to high-impact funders.

How can I apply?

If you’re interested in joining us, either as an individual or on behalf of your organization, please complete this application form below to share your idea for consideration. The deadline for submissions is July 15, 2022. Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. All confirmations for participation will be sent by July 18, 2022.

Note: We want everyone who is selected for this accelerator to be able to participate. That’s why Unlock Aid will subsidize all or part of the travel to Mexico City for organizations headquartered in low-income countries or have significant operations in low-income countries and/or have a Founder that is traditionally underrepresented in the global development sector. By selecting Mexico City as the host for this event, we anticipate this should minimize potential travel disruptions associated with obtaining visas and other issues. However, if you are selected for this accelerator and expect that you will have travel constraints, please let us know and we’ll do our best to help.

How are you evaluating ideas?
We want your issue to focus on identifying scalable solutions around one or more of the thematic issues listed above. We value uplifting diverse perspectives, and innovation in the form of new operating models, processes, solidarity, movement, and change. When we talk about your idea as a ‘moonshot,’ we mean making a big bet to solve a daunting challenge in an accelerated time period that requires coordinated action across decision makers, funders, and communities seeking change.
When will I hear more information on the actual workshop in Mexico City?
We want to give everybody ample time to plan for travel arrangements, so you will receive more information about the in-person workshop by July 8th. Unlock Aid will subsidize all or part of the cost to travel to Mexico City for organizations headquartered in low-income countries and that have a founding team from those countries. If you anticipate that you will have travel constraints–either with obtaining visas or other obstacles–please let us know ASAP and we will do our best to help.
How does the accelerator work, and what am I committing to if I am accepted?
Interested parties begin by completing our official submission form. Each submission requires prospective authors to submit information on who they are, as well as a summary of their idea to help our team understand and evaluate each submission. We recommend reviewing the form in advance and thinking through each answer to the questions before officially submitting your proposal.If selected, participants will be expected to attend 2-5 hours of virtual programming in the lead up to the workshop. An additional 8-10 hours may be required following the workshop to complete the proposal.  Accelerator participants can also request support from the team on including

Virtual whiteboarding sessions to workshop ideas before and after the workshop.
Connections to experts and current and former decision makers in USG and other instituitons who serves as a resource and mentor during the development of the moonshot.
Access to toolkits, workbooks, technical editing, and other resources to ensure a compelling final written product.
Following the completion of the virtual components of the accelerator, authors will have the chance to convene together in Mexico City, sharing and pitching their work in-person with other members of the accelerator cohort, funders, and policymakers.