Innovation That Matters

Springwise Solutions: A Conversation With Santiago Lefebvre


During ChangeNOW 2023, Springwise CEO James Bidwell spoke with the summit’s co-founder Santiago Lefebvre about the highlights and key takeaways from this year’s event

Five takeaways from ChangeNOW 2023

1. Every part of society needs to be included in the transition

The original purpose of ChangeNOW was to showcase entrepreneurs trying to solve concrete issues. But this year the summit included a broad mix of people – from big brands to investors, activists, and artists. Lefebvre explains that this is because the team increasingly understands that the transition to a sustainable world needs to integrate every part of society. What we need, he argues, is complementary strategies because: “If you attack the system on just one side you can’t really change it.”

2. You can look at the issues differently

Lefebvre highlights that CEOs and policymakers at ChangeNOW are discovering frameworks and tools such as Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics and MIT’s Climate Pathways. These are helping them to shift their mindset, and approach old issues with fresh eyes.

3. Connections are key

This year, ChangeNOW has brought together changemakers from all over the world. And while travelling such a long distance is a big commitment, the opportunity for stakeholders to connect is invaluable. For example, Lefebvre highlights how the director of The Great Green Wall, a project pursuing reforestation in the Sahel region of Africa, met the president of COP 15, Alain-Richard Donwahi, for the first time at ChangeNOW.  

4. The agenda is broader than climate

ChangeNOW is moving beyond a conventional focus on climate alone, with Lefebvre highlighting that there are four main equations that we must solve together: the climate, biodiversity, resources, and inclusion. Solving these one by one would take many decades, and the planet doesn’t have time for that. We must therefore tackle them at the same time.

5. We need courage

As we make the transition to a more sustainable world, many people will need to show courage. Lefebvre points to the inspiration of one of ChangeNOW’s keynote speakers, Francisco Vera, who, at just nine years old, created a climate change education platform in Colombia. He did this despite the pressures that this brought on him.

To find out more about ChangeNOW and to watch replays of the talks at the 2023 summit click here.

Written By: James Bidwell