Are you unsure of what a great application looks like? Are you lacking the inspiration to complete your application? Don’t worry. We’ve spoken to the evaluation committee here at beVisioneers and they have given us their top tips for an application that increases your odds of becoming a Visioneer. Here they are…
1. Know Your Sustainability Zone
At beVisioneers, we focus on 12 Sustainability Zones. These are not just a catalog of sustainability challenges. Instead, they are distinct areas of work where challenges intersect with areas of work. They encompass pressing issues such as ‘Decarbonization’ and ‘Water Management,’ as well as crucial intervention areas like ‘Education & Behavioral Change’ and ‘Governance, Incentives & Capacity Building’.
We aim to align your innovative ideas and projects with these Sustainability Zones. In doing so, we ensure that you identify the most pressing problems and work in areas that have proven to make the most systemic impact. As such, you will be identifying a clear path to maximize the impact of your planet-positive project.
So, it’s a big bonus if you can match your idea to one of our sustainability zones. If you aren’t sure if your idea perfectly aligns with these specific zones, don’t hesitate. As long as your idea can help build a more sustainable future, go for it. For a full explanation of our Sustainability Zones, check out Q3 in our FAQs
2. Be specific & demonstrate your understanding
We select candidates who have not only identified an environmental challenge but also either demonstrate a deep understanding of its root causes or exhibit the potential to grasp them. For example, suppose you want to address deforestation (which could potentially fall under the “Governance, Incentives & Capacity Building” and “Ecosystems & Global Environmental Commons” zones). In that case, you would be expected to consider its underlying drivers. These might include illegal logging, lack of sustainable income alternatives, inadequate sustainable land-use practices, or values that prioritize short-term benefits at the expense of long-term sustainability.
However, if you are in just the idea stage (see below), we value your mindset that is receptive to systemic relations and avoids oversimplified solutions. So, keep in mind that the deforestation example is just illustrative. We trust you and your community´s insights regarding what’s optimal for your communities — show us!
3. Ensure you are in the “Idea Stage” or the “Prototype Stage.”
Our program is designed for young eco-innovators who are either at the ‘’idea stage’’ or the ‘’prototype stage.’’ To ensure it is worth your time and effort in applying, make sure you fall under one of these categories. To help you decipher whether you fall within one of these categories, and if so, which category, we have provided some definitions below:
A project in the “idea stage” focuses on creating, refining, and evaluating a proposed idea or concept that addresses a specific and defined environmental challenge. During this early phase, the project has not yet solidified its plan, specific goals, or allocated resources. A project in this phase involves.
- One or more conceptual project initiatives aimed at addressing a particular need, problem, or opportunity.
- Assessment of the project’s relevance (potential and practicality): Think about how your idea addresses the problems, desires, or challenges of the intended audience and partners. This can also be accomplished by exploring comparable solutions in the field to determine the potential success of your project.
- Identification of potential key stakeholders/partners. Think about the people who have an interest in or are affected by the idea, including the community, users, or organizations that can support your project.
- Development of a basic outline for how the project could be executed, including overarching goals and potential key milestones.
- Identification of potential risks and challenges associated with the idea, accompanied by the formulation of broad strategies to manage or mitigate these risks.
A project in the “prototype phase” is more advanced in its development and primarily focuses on crafting a practical model or prototype for a solution. This solution may be a product, service, campaign, or program rooted in a validated concept. In this phase, you have the opportunity to evaluate and verify the project’s relevance and its impact on users, stakeholders, and partners, as well as identify potential risks. A project in this phase involves:
- Development of one or more physical or digital prototypes that demonstrate the core functionality and design of your project.
- The design of a structured testing experience to validate the key features conveyed through the prototype. You usually collect feedback from users, stakeholders, and experts in this phase.
- You should be open to enhancing and refining your prototype (or even your original idea) based on feedback and testing results.
- Initial assessment of costs of producing the final product or solution based on the prototype’s design and specifications.
Anticipating potential risks or challenges that may arise during the move from the prototype phase to production or implementation.
4. Remember no idea is too big or too small
Whether you believe your idea is a groundbreaking technological innovation or a subtler, incremental change, your contributions are incredibly valuable. If you’re convinced that your vision can contribute to building a planet-positive world, we encourage you to pursue it. In the diversity of ideas lies the key to innovative and effective solutions, and we’re eager to explore all possibilities that can lead us to a more sustainable future. Your unique perspective could be the missing piece of the puzzle.
5. Be yourself
We know. You’ve heard this advice before and it may sound cheesy but it’s the truth. We want to get to know you as an individual. We want to see how you understand the specific challenges in your local community and how you would like to solve them. This Fellowship is for the next generation, so we don’t expect you to have 10 years of experience in the sustainability field. This is for eco-innovators at the start of their journey so no need to feel imposter syndrome. We are looking for young and unique voices, if that sounds like you then you’re already qualified.
We hope this has served as a helpful guide. We can’t wait to hear your planet-positive idea. Get going!