Three days ago I was making my way home from Lausanne Switzerland. The 24 hour trip back to Boston made me want to scream, cry, and light something on fire, but my time at The Good Festival made it all worth it. Over the course of two days I spent time with innovators from around the world who brought their fresh, world changing ideas to be showcased at The Good Festival in Lausanne Switzerland. It was an inspiring few days that gave me new hope for Design Cause.
I was lucky enough to attend the first ever Good Festival, an international conference held to showcase the work of social innovators striving to make a difference in every corner of the globe. I met innovators that had traveled from China, India, Australia, Uganda, Boston, and across Europe to be a part of this amazing event. It was really an outstanding opportunity to meet the people out on the front lines making the world a better place. I was honored just to be selected to be a part of this amazing group and to be able to talk about Design Cause and the work we are trying to do.
So let me dive into the event and tell you how I spent my two days:
The weather in Switzerland was unfortunately not on our side and the first day of the conference had heavy rain and thunderstorms. Although this didn't damper the spirits of anyone involved it did restrict our first event. The kickoff event of the festival was a series of workshops that were to be held on a cruise around Lake Geneva. Unfortunately due to the weather the cruise ship never left the dock but all the activities were still in full swing. The scheduled workshops focused on design thinking, how to embrace a servicer mindset, and how to establish an innovator's checklist. I choose to attend the design thinking workshop which focused on the steps of design thinking and how to present your final idea so others can understand it. The kickoff also provided a chocolate fountain and raclette (melted cheese over potatoes with pickled pearl onions and small pickles) to enjoy and to remind you that you were in Switzerland.
After the cruise we set out on innovation tours, indepth looks at local ethical and sustainable businesses around Lausanne. Our first stop was the Durig chocolatiere, an organic and fair trade chocolate maker in the heart of Lausanne. There we got an explanation of how chocolate is created and how they source their fair trade all organic cocao and cocoa butter. We also learned how they make their own sweet treats, and enjoyed some samples :) I made sure to stay and do some light shopping after the presentation.
Our next tour was to a sandwich shop that boasted the best sandwich in Europe. The Sucre Sale uses all fresh local ingredients to create their signature salads and sandwiches. They explained their sustainable goals along with how they source all their food and how it is packaged (they encourage customers to bring their own sustainable cups, plates, and boxes). They have become a local favorite lunch spot and, as we found out, their sandwiches really speak for themselves
Our next and final tour of the day was to the school of hotel management just outside the city of Lausanne. This school was amazing from multiple standpoints, including the architecture. The building was stunning and was fully equipped with sustainable features that allowed it to be fully solar powered on sunny days. It also boasted an extremely robust waste management system. The tour took us to the classrooms, student run restaurant, library, and their auditorium which features some of the best speakers in Europe. Overall the tours were fabulous and I was so excited for the next day when I would be presenting Design Cause's first project to a panel of judges to see if it would be selected as a Good100 recipient.
Unfortunately the second day started out just as wet as the first, but that did little to slow me down as I hustled to the Olympic museum where the presentations were taking place. The auditorium that the presentations were in was intimidating. I am not used to presenting in full sized auditoriums with lights and a microphone. I was scheduled to go fifth in line and as the presenters finished up their presentations I got progressively more nervous. Once it was my turn I held onto the microphone and went through my memorized presentation with only one small hiccup. After my five minutes I asked if there were any questions and every judge had at least one question. I answered all the questions smoothly. All the judges were very compelled by the project and afterwards one of the judges even asked for my business card. It was a great feeling to know that my work was well received.
I watched the rest of the projects for my session. They ranged from after school education programs, to shoes made of wool, to antibiotics for livestock. All really interesting initiatives that ranged so widely in what they were trying to achieve. After all the presentations the judges deliberated to decide on winners and the founder of The Good Festival spoke with us about why he decided to start this festival and the six and a half year road to get there. When the judges came back and announced my project as one of the Good100 recipients I was ecstatic. It felt so amazing to get recognition for the work I have been doing for the last three years. It also felt great to know that I would return home with something to show the community behind Design Cause.
After the awards were handed out we were all invited to a three course meal at the restaurant in the Olympic museum. As I watched the clouds dissipate and reveal amazing views of the French Alps across Lake Geneva I chatted with other innovators, bankers, and the founder of the festival about Design Cause and the work we are doing. The meal was capped with a toblerone chocolate mousse which just seemed to be the perfect ending to the morning.
In the afternoon I went to my final workshop about personal branding. It was incredibly interesting, but at this point I was very tired and found it hard to focus. The Good Festival is an incredibly exciting event that I hope to attend in the future. Lausanne, Switzerland is a remarkable place which is clearly filled with conscientious, motivated people who want to see the world become a better place. I hope Design Cause and The Good Festival can grow together and slowly begin to create positive change around the world.