We are deeply grateful to ITU for having invited us to participate in WSIS2018 – the World Summit on Information Society – from March 19 – 23, 2018 to address emerging technologies such as drones and how they can support and create new solutions for SDGs. Co-Founder & Chief Entrepreneurship Officer Sonja Betschart and AidRobotics Director Joel Kaiser have spent an incredible week at WSIS2018 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The WSIS Forum is a global multi-stakeholder platform for advancing sustainable development organized by ITU and other entities. The one-week summit brings together stakeholders from international organizations, governments, civil society, NGOs, academia and the private sector and represented a highly interesting platform for WeRobotics to help spread the word on robotics technologies and social good.
Throughout the week, we have been invited to participate in 5 panels and workshops, giving us the opportunity to talk about how robotics solutions such as drones can address 9 out of the 17 SDGs. Starting on Monday morning in the “Accelerating Digital Transformation” track and the first session on “Building Vibrant ICT Centric Innovation Ecosystems” led by Dr. Eun-Ju Kim, Chief of Innovation and Partnership at ITU, Sonja contributed to a highly interesting panel with her insights on sustainable innovation and how we address it at WeRobotics. On the next panel of the morning, Sonja then went on sharing her learnings of our Flying Labs framework that allows us to build local robotics capacity throughout our network in the session focusing on “Building ICT skills for social entrepreneurs”. During this time, Joel met with many interested visitors at our booth in the exhibition area that allowed us to spread our word further.
Sonja speaking on the Digital Divide, the Robotics Divide and WeRobotics’ first participation in WSIS Forum
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the High-Level track sessions allowed to meet and initiate fruitful discussions with ministers and representatives of civil society and NGOs. Sonja had the honor to be a High-Level track speaker and contribute in the policy recommendation session on “Bridging the Digital Divide”. She spent two insightful days learning more on the challenges the WSIS community faces such as Gender mainstreaming, Inclusiveness – access to information and knowledge for all, Building confidence and security in the use of ICTs and more.
After having been inspired on Thursday morning by the UAE’s Government Accelerator Program and their innovative approach of using Design Thinking methodology to accelerating Smart Government Services, both Joel and Sonja followed up with more interventions. Joel’s workshop on “ICT Solutions for SDGs: Focus on Robots, Drones and Virtual and Augmented Reality” gave applied examples on how drones and acquired data allow to bring new solutions to disaster preparedness and management. On her side, Sonja closed the day on the panel of “Women entrepreneurs and innovators” to discuss the role of women in ICT.
Our participation at WSIS also allowed to discover great initiatives and organizations such as Horyou, a social network with a purpose addressing all of us who want to communicate positively and make a difference. WSIS2018 was a week rich in exchanges, encounters, discoveries, discussions and shared learnings and fully lived up to its purpose of being the global multi-stakeholder platform for advancing sustainable development. We hope to be part of WSIS2019 to keep on contributing with our approach on bridging the robotics divide.