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#YCL2019Immersion | Group Project Methodology & Guidelines

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

The main objective of #YCL2019Immersion was to create an experience where young people could learn climate change in theory, understand it in practice, and work on hands-on projects to start their careers in this field. Therefore, the participants' main assignment to be delivered in the journey was to develop a project that consisted of a solution to be implemented to improve our cities.

YCL Participants with the ICLEI Jury - 15 August 2019 in Bonn, Germany


The methodology utilized to develop the solution projects was inspired by the UNLEASH Innovation process, that consists of a design thinking concept adapted to develop innovative projects with social impact. UNLEASH is a global non-profit organization that aspires to become the world's leading platform for scalable solutions to the SDGs. They organize several labs to present and practice the methodology, that Cassia Moraes, our CEO, had the pleasure of exploring during her experience in the UNLEASH 2018 Lab in Singapore. Below you will find the introduction deck with the details of the tool:


Since the main theme of the visits and the journey itself was Sustainable cities, we divided the group into the four main themes: Urban Mobility, Energy, Food & Agriculture, and Urban Planning. In total, 20 participants participated in the group projects development, and every group had 5 participants each. The definition of the groups per theme was done the YCL facilitators based on their gender, educational level background, nationality, and their personal preference, that was asked at the end of the group project instructions. For the purpose of the exercise during the journey, we adapted the UNLEASH method and had 4 steps developed:

Problem framing (approximately 8h): define a problem to be solved, with a defined user, a need, and an insight, by filling up a detailed problem frame tree. It is required to conduct research to confirm the participants' assumption while framing the problem. Since every participant has different realities and will come back to different countries, it was required that the problem to be framed to be recurrent in different parts of the world. They had to fill the following template:

[User] needs to [user’s need] because [insight]

The user should be a noun - a person or organisation.

The user’s need should be a verb - an action or requirement.

The insight should be friction, not a fact. The more actionable that your insight is, the easier it will be to start coming up with exciting, unique solutions.

Ideation (approximately 8h): brainstorm about different solutions, collect different ideas, split them by complexity and impact capacity, shortlist three of them to finally choose a definite one to be developed for the rest of the journey.

Prototyping (approximately 10h): the step to give form to the idea. The UNLEASH solution canvas, that was presented on the problem framing process, as well as a 2-pager presentation, should be finalized and approved by the YCL facilitators. Additionally, the groups should also present a prototype, if possible, of how they envision the solution, either via video, CAD, website, PrintScreen (in case of an app), as well as the user's journey, of how the final user is expected to interact with the solution.

Testing (3h): Pitch Day to be presented to ICLEI, our official partners of the journey. Each group has a 5 min to pitch their projects, and afterward the ICLEI Jury would have 10 to 15 min to ask questions and provide feedback related to the project ideas. The projects would be evaluated based on the indications given in the jury orientations and indicators. Additionally, the objective Jury should simulate as if they were actual decision-makers, to help the participants live the reality of real work in the field, but also with recommendations playing a critical role for them to improve their pitch in their future careers.

An important aspect to mention about the project steps is that they all follow an important design concept principle, that is evolving based on the user's and facilitator's feedback. At any time, the group steps back to review either the problem, the idea or the prototype development. This principle is the best way to ensure that the solution will be applicable and will have a concrete impact on the solution that the project is bringing.


Hereby we are proud to present the projects developed during the immersion. During the entire process, they had advice from experts in the field that they encountered during the several visits they had during the journey. We thank all the experts for their inputs and recommendations to make sure that the projects were meaningful and had great potential of being implemented after the journey. Additionally, thank you ICLEI Jury for helping our participants with your critics and suggestions. All our participants left this journey eager to make them to the next level.

  • URBAN MOBILITY: A browser extension that can be incorporated into current route planning software (i.e.: Google Maps) to improve its suggestions with new and improved parameters. hOw2gO supports and encourages behavioral changes towards alternative modes of transport by including new parameters and improving existing ones (by Felipe Sá, Gereon Fju Mewes, Gerald Imo, Luciana Brandão, and Sibu Szymanowska)

  • ENERGY: The Green Building Guide - a Communication Toolkit is for tenants to convince their landlords to increase energy efficiency and implement renewable energy solutions, therefore it will be possible to reduce the GHG emissions associated with the energy consumption in buildings. The Communication Toolkit takes the form of a brochure and a website (by Anna Klaffschenkel, Daniel Kim, Flávia Perucci, Karima El Azhary and Sara Nyberg)

  • FOOD & AGRICULTURE: A proposed program that enables the children to impart knowledge about food production through methodologies like the gamification of the farming process as well as real-life experience. We aim to mitigate climate change by spreading awareness among future generations and within their social environment. (by Ana Carolina Corrêa, Flávia Christo, Manoj Kumar, Rachel Shi, and Silmarie Crespo-Vélez)

  • URBAN PLANNING: A training program in solar panel installation for environmental migrants in the city, that would give them formal employment, at the same time contribute to a more sustainable society with fewer carbon emissions (By Anna Yuruyeva, Ana Carsalarde, Daniel Patrick Howard, Evelyn Salas and Zara Amer).

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