Judges' Perspectives

Ying Sheng, International Society of urban and regional planners (ISOCARP)

UNDP-CH-Ying-Sheng

- Having served as a judge for the first two rounds, what is your overall view of these solutions?

The four themes focused on in this competition are poverty alleviation, transportation improvement, disaster management and environmental protection. My responsibility was for judging the environmental protection theme. Among the 10 finalists, there are four programmes that include a focus on solving environmental protection, accounting for almost half. I am therefore very proud as this shows that environmetal issues are of clear concern to our participants. The four themes of this competition are inextricably linked with UN SDGs, which can be widely popularized and promoted through this platform. Furthermore, I believe that all of the participants have shown outstading ability in the field of innovation, and an age range from 16 to 63 years old show depth in the creativity of passionate people. With over 2000 applications in the inital stages, we can see that Chinese people, and especially youth, have a stronger awareness of the importance of innovation and creativity, as well as a feeling of stronger global social responsibility.

- Among these 10 schemes, which one are you particularly curious about? Why? 

These 10 solutions are provide innovative and practical benefits in their own fields. I am however very interested to learn more about the graphene air sterilization system. This program has clear potential to have a positive impact on people's lives, by reducing disease transmission and cleaning indoor air. This is especially important today since we are facing air pollution problems in our cities. I sincerely hope that this product can be marketed effectively so that more paople can have access.

- From the perspective of the field you engage your work in, what kind of solutions you can provide for the current development issues?

From the perspective of the urban planning and environmental situation of the city I live in, there are some unresolved issues. For instance, how to solve transportation problems caused by the appearace of shared transport, especially with parking difficulties caused by parking shared bikes. Furthermore, we need to work how we can optimize the planning and construction of low-carbon eco-cities to tackle climate change and ecological environmental problems. In order to achieve the SDGs we need the involvement of people with innovative ideas from all walks of life.

Xu Xiuli, Professor at China Agricultural University

- What are your views on the potential progression of social innovation? What key points should innovators consider when designing their plans?

Firstly, from the perspective of macroeconomic development, decades of economic growth has formed the core of China’s development path, resulting in the emergence of a large number of economic innovations, and social innovation has gradually become a core part of this progression. Therefore, when looking to solve inequality and poverty-related issues, support vulnerable social groups and solve environmental challenges, there is a huge demand for new innovative ideas and models. Today we can see that this transformation towards social innovation is taking place. 

Second, from the perspective of innovation, young people can play a key role in the process of social innovation and development. This is a new era where youth will play a key role in confronting complex social development issues, using their own personal experience to put forward a variety of social innovation ideas. China’s recently released "Long-Term Youth Development Plan (2016-2025)" provides us with the policy guarantee to support youth, and we should pay closer attention to the power of young people as an important channel to promote social innovation.

From the perspective of the program itself, which has a broad vision, we can see the problems inherent to social development. Identifying a clear entry point and specific, feasible technical programmes, and promoting comprehensive management capabilities can bring people, money and other resources to the table, leading to more collective action. The three key elements are essential in the success we are seeing in innovative development solutions. Many social development programmes focus on either the first or second point, or both, but if innovative ideas can allow for some preparations related to third factor, there will real potential for strong future development.

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