Energy Access Innovation Lab Side Event
Hosted by Affordable Energy for Humanity (AE4H)
About the Conference:
The International Conference on Solar Technologies & Hybrid Mini Grids to Improve Energy Access brings together practitioners from the industry, academia and development institutions working in the field of decentralized energy. The conference will cover technical, business and management aspects of solar technologies and mini grids with the aim of sharing experiences, learning from each other and networking.
The conference is a collaboration between a diverse set of partner organizations including:
- Trama TecnoAmbiental (a Spanish off-grid technology consultancy)
- GIZ (the German International Development Agency)
- SNV (the Dutch International Development Agency)
- EnDev (a major energy access initiative financed by six donor countries: the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Sweden)
- REPIC (An interdepartmental platform of the Swiss government for renewable energy promotion)
Objective of the AE4H side event:
The objective of this ½ day session is to kick-off the conference with an engaging set of in-depth discussions on what participants at the conference ‘want to do next’ in the field of energy access. This is in contrast to the primary mode of traditional conferences, which asks ‘what you have done before?’ The goal is to provide open space for new collaborations and project ideas to emerge, which can then be discussed informally throughout the rest of the conference, and pursued thereafter.
The ‘innovation lab’ format features small group discussions on topics that participants identify ahead of time, as well as open group discussion in plenary. This format has been utilized by AE4H to run similar (but generally longer) innovation labs on the topic. Read more about our first major innovation lab event here on our website.
The lab will essentially take place in three parts, running for a total of about 3 hours:
Part 1: Introduction to themes – the lab facilitator invites pre-selected discussion leaders to introduce a set of themes which will be discussed at table groups. These themes and the leaders themselves are selected ahead of time according to responses from participants on a ½ page form indicating what they would like to discuss at the conference.
Part 2: Group discussion – all participants self-select the group that they will join based on their interests. A rapporteur is assigned to record the discussion using a prepared template and their own note-taking style. Discussions are meant to start very open, gradually zeroing in on concrete ‘to-dos’.
Part 3: Plenary – rapporteurs present back to plenary very briefly, with questions and ideas offered by the audience and an opportunity for a final moderated discussion of key issues to carry forward into the rest of the conference.
The Affordable Energy for Humanity Initiative (AE4H) was founded in 2015 as a collaboration between the University of Waterloo (Canada) and the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (Germany) with the aim of accelerating research and development of clean energy solutions to alleviate energy poverty. The initiative has become a global network encompassing 140+ expert innovators from academia, the private and public sectors, and civil society organizations in 20+ countries. AE4H is managed out of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE) at the University of Waterloo.
One of the primary mechanisms through which AE4H works is to bring together our experts members in unique forums that allow for deep knowledge exchange and catalysis of new collaborations and projects. AE4H also manages an international internship program that provides funded student interns to energy access enterprises, and is active in a number of other projects made possible through member collaboration.