Creating an alumni network of climate innovators

Climate-KIC is Europe’s largest public-private innovation partnership working to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Hundreds of climate activists, experts and innovators engage with their programs every year and go on to make change in a broad range of sectors.

The challenge that Climate-KIC came to us with was to design a journey for all these alumni to become more engaged within the community, ultimately creating the conditions in which they would be incentivised to take more self-directed action and drive climate impact within their fields.

Over the last three years we have worked with Climate-KIC helping them to find structures which allow the organisation to be better connected with the wider climate movement as well as mapping a route for the organisation to move away from a top-down structure. Moving decisions out from behind closed doors has enabled alumni to take ownership over their community’s direction and action. Through our work together Climate-KIC is now growing a movement through their vast alumni and climate innovator network.

As a central thread of better engaging the alumni community, we built a participatory grant making process so alumni themselves decide which alumni-led projects are awarded financial support, shifting the decision making power to alumni themselves. The participatory grant making process has also enabled us to bring alumni into other decision making actions, for example representing Climate-KIC at the  European Institute of Innovation and Technology AGM, and deciding the criteria for grant awards.