Embark On An Innovation Journey At Lift:Lab

From March 1 to 3, the annual innovation conference Lift was held at the Geneva International Convention Center as scheduled. This year, Lift was more grander than ever and renewed its format to a prototyping lab with keynote speeches in every morning.

On November 19 2016, the Lift China 3rd edition, a one-day workshop on urban issues, co-organized by swissnex China and Lift took place in Shanghai. The most promising team of this workshop, Open Greens, won a free trip sponsored by Nestlé China to participate in Lift:Lab in Geneva. Open Greens proposed to plant herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables outside the windows of every household, obtaining safer food while beautifying their apartment. Lift: Lab had altogether 36 teams from around the world this year. Participants included companies, governments, nonprofit organizations, startups and so on.

Lift:Lab was full of freedom, fun and challenges. All types of resources were reachable including prototyping material, workplace, guidebook, insightful speeches, coaches, experts, etc.

After the opening of the lab, Lift:Lab provided every team with a base camp and an innovation guidebook. All the participants were free to choose from and play with the 36 beacons suggested by the guide. Additionally, every team was assigned a coach to help them and they could also make an appointment with experts to discuss their project and its issues. On the site of Lift:Lab, there were also Labstore which offered all kinds of tools to innovate and project tracking board where participants could easily follow up and plan their prototyping process.

During the 2.5-day program, Open Greens started from naming the project in Chinese and initiated several brainstorms to map the environment of the project and to analyze customer demand.

Besides internal discussion, Open Greens was also seeking opportunities to exchange with other teams and meet up with experts. Inspirations were constantly stirred among teams and valuables feedback was given by experts.

Lift:Lab was more than talking, thinking and writing ideas down. Open Greens prototyped in 3D three times, which helped them to figure out more about their product and bring them fulfillment and joy.

The 2.5-day program came to a close in a round of applause. In such a short period of time, it is hard to land a project immediately, but all participants definitely had something to take away. You can learn innovative methodology, listen to speeches delivered by invited guests, discuss with entrepreneurs and experts from different areas, receive coaching for free and build an international network. In addition to all these, you will also have the chance to enjoy a wonderful fondue night and the breathtaking beauty of Geneva.

I was honored and delighted to have had the opportunity to attend the Lift:Lab in Geneva after being selected from the Urban Entrepreneurship Workshop hosted by swissnex China. The Lift:Lab itself was spirited around the philosophy of prototyping and making, while being structured as a way to confront project ideas from a variety of perspectives. Our team had arrived with a concept for an urban agriculture system, which was still in its design infancy. For us, this was a chance to completely rethink challenges and opportunities. The lab was hugely helpful for evaluating our project from practical, social and economic points of reference. We took particular advantage of the physical model-making tools available, to construct mini mock-ups of our design ideas. Through this process of rapid creation, we were able to discover new solutions and inspire our own creative problem-solving. My thanks to the Lift:Lab team for organizing such a constructive event, swissnex for supporting our participation and the sponsors for allowing this to happen. We leave feeling inspired and excited about the next step!
Frederik Dolmans
Initiator of Open Greens
Attending Lift:Lab 2017 in Geneva is an amazing opportunity to optimize our design and get connected with other entrepreneurs and professionals. During Lift:Lab, I feel excited to witness how our idea is gradually developed from a paper proposal into prototype design with professional expert coaching and practical methodology guidance. By sharing ideas and exchanging viewpoints with participants, our Window Farm design gets continuous improvements and marketing strategy becomes more clear. Moreover, friendship with entrepreneurs from different countries, experts and organizations are the most valuable take-away in Lift:Lab, I believe.
Peng Yang
Team member of Open Greens