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Aegis intern Bernice Antoine shares her experience attending last month’s ‘Pivot movement’ led by the IDB to strengthen Caribbean innovation.

Barbados Prime Minister, the Honorable Mia Mottley, shared that “time has come for the people of this region to shed their lack of cultural confidence and allow the Caribbean to take its place on the scoreboard, especially in technology.’

It is with this in mind that the ‘Pivot Event’ was designed. 

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)  partnered with Caribbean Climate-Smart, Singularity University, and the Destination Experience to launch the “Pivot Movement”. This movement was designed to combat the drastic effects of globalization and climate change on the Caribbean by promoting change agents to develop sustainable strategies for the future of the region. 

 The Movement occurred in three parts: 

  1.  Pivot Search was the crowdsourcing platform to receive new development ideas.‘ Futurists were asked to submit moonshots (A radically ambiguous idea) to transform the Caribbean in the areas of electric vehicles, digital transformation and re-imagining tourism. 
  2. Three ideas from each category were selected and secured a placement in the ‘Pivot Event”. The public was then prompted to vote for your favourite Moonshot Idea to transform our Caribbean. 
  3. For five days in October these ideas were developed and a manifesto was created for the nine moonshots for the Caribbean. Their moonshot manifestos were presented on the 30th of October.

Kirk- Anthony Hamilton, founder and CEO of The Infiniti Partnership, shared at the opening ceremony of the Pivot Event, ‘Pivot was conceived to create a safe space where we can share the ideas that toggle around in our minds where there is not typically a platform to turn these ideas into reality.’ 

Hamilton recalls attending the World Economic Forum, being the only Caribbean participant, realized that others were driving our ultimate outcomes and ‘we were not owning the future of our region.’ 

He referenced Barbados Prime Minister, the Honorable Mia Mottley’s call to action, ‘too long we have played second fiddle in our region, we have not operated at the forefront of our destinies… it’s time for the Caribbean to rise as builders of our future.’

Dr Mohammed emphasized the same sentiments using the analogy of cricket. He reminisced of the 1950 Lord’s Cricket Test match in which the Caribbean created their moonshot and sealed their place in history books. He reminded us that after that reign, we went on to gain our independence after decades under the Crown. He shares ‘we continue to aim for the (seemingly) impossible,’ and we still achieve. He calls on future makers to not only pass on their plans but also their moonshot mindset.’

Dr Mohammed states, ‘Like climate change as fastballs we cannot avoid, it is not enough to defend the wicket, technology is what we need to confront such deliveries and respond with hits beyond the boundaries, leaders of government and industry are obligated to create environments which you have the freedom to think of new ideas and launch them.’

Finally, Sally Dominquez, futurist, inventor and entrepreneur, shares that ‘the dreams and essence of the region is to not just play in the playground of the world but to be the powerhouse of the world. ‘

With the end of the opening remarks, participants of the event were allowed to share their moonshots. There were three in each of the following categories: Electric Vehicles, Digital Transformation and Reimagining Tourism. 

Presented in the category of Electric Vehicles was the use of ‘a green hydrogen powerhouse’ for sustainable energy, in which the by-product is water and steam. This means zero carbon emissions and quite possibly a large reduction in global warming. Other moonshots presented were ‘SeeWee’ a highspeed vessel to facilitate easier movement across the Caribbean. 

One participant reminded us of Mottley’s words, ‘we are not trying to catch up to the rest of the world, we are trying to lead the rest of the world.’

Innovative ideas like these were presented across the categories of Digital transformation and Re-imagining Tourism. 

Racquel Moses, CEO at The Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator, closed off the ‘Pivot Event’ reminding us that this is just the beginning. She encourages participants, stating that ‘It’s ok to be frightened, do it anyway, historians will look back on these same moments’