Idea Incubator

Powerful actions don't just happen. Ideas do, but the best ideas need space, time, exchange, and effort to thrive.

The Melton Foundation Idea Incubator helps cultivate Fellows’ creative ideas for tackling global challenges, so that these ideas can become reality and the projects can be scaled for success.

  • How? Click here for our (not-so) secret sauce.

    Each year, the Melton Foundation invites Fellows to propose ideas that address global and local problems. First, contestants participate in a one-month online workshop that offers tools, guidance, and global expertise to refine the idea for a potential solution. Up to four of those contestants who can present the most feasible ideas at the end of the month will have the opportunity to participate in the intense, customized, 3 month Idea Icnubator program.Through personalized mentoring and focused support designed to the participants' needs, we help the Fellows expand the idea into a tangible project. In virtual settings as well as in face-to-face workshops, they learn how to create business plans, identify their value-add, make a case for their cause in simple and powerful ways, and much more. This experience-driven approach enables Fellows to consistently discuss, develop and scale their ideas into a prototype, allowing Fellows to experience success as well as failure in the early stages of the project development.

    The Idea Incubator is linked to the Melton Foundation's Global Citizenship Conference (GCC) where Fellows share the refined ideas with peers and experts through a “pitching” process, which compels them to make the case for their projects in simple and powerful ways. With feedback from the community of Fellows and external experts at the GCC, Incubator Fellows further tweak the project ideas and invite collaboration from other Fellows. After the GCC, Incubator Fellows continue to receive support as needed in the form of targeted skill development and mentoring. Where the idea has progressed far enough, Incubator Fellows form project teams and start with the implementation of their projects.

The Idea Incubator has helped launch diverse projects including Noumenm—a community development project in Haiti and a Chemical Leasing project to encourage businesses to reduce chemical waste and pollution.

Idea Incubator 2015

For the fourth time, we invites Fellows to submit ideas on how to help solve global issues locally. The Idea Incubator provides tools, expertise and personalized support as participants develop their ideas and translate them into action.

Find out more here.

Ideas We Have Incubated So Far

  • Click here for more on the IDEA INCUBATOR 2014

    We're on it: the summary of last years' Idea Incubator will follow soon. In the meantime: we leave you with the ideas for impact!

    Idea Pitch 2014 - Melton Fellows making the case for their projects.

  • Click here for more on the IDEA INCUBATOR 2013

    In our second Idea Incubator, we refined the program and structure based on the feedback from the 2012 Idea Incubator. In 2013, we engaged entrepreneurs and experienced mentors to support four Melton Fellows in the process of conceptualizing and refining their ideas for projects with impact. In online and face-to-face workshops, as well as during the Melton Foundation’s annual Global Citizenship Conference, the four challengers revised their project ideas by defining value propositions, necessary resources, core audiences, and communication strategies to turn the ideas into actionable projects. Here are the four Idea Incubator Projects in a nutshell:

    1. May Garces leverages the power of arts to address the impact of waste on our environment, by creating an art installation using recycled materials such as plastic bottles;
    2. Barbara Nietzel builds awareness for cultural differences using short video clips to show how enriching diversity can be when seeking global solutions to local issues;
    3. Juli Maier takes the promotion of Chemical Leasing to the next stage by constructing a cost-benefit model using real data to substantiate the benefits of this practice; and
    4. Cristina Mardones aims to empower groups marginalized by mainstream society such as migrants in Germany and indigenous people in Chile by bringing them together to co-construct spaces for Mutual Building. Check out the Facebook page for her project here.

    The Idea Incubator helped me make the idea clearer, to develop and carry out the project, to look for more contacts and
to make it true.

    Cristina Mardones, Incubatee 2013

  • Click here for more on the IDEA INCUBATOR 2012

    In 2012, we launched the Idea Incubator as a space where Fellows with powerful ideas for change could find structure and support to transform their ideas into tangible actions.

    Four Fellows participated in the Melton Foundation’s first Idea Incubator and prepared to tackle massive global issues from building community capacity through local resource mapping; leveraging the MF’s linguistic diversity to help promote across language barriers; developing an innovative model to reduce chemical pollutions through leasing; tapping the social capital of a global network to create positive impact at a local level with a cross-continental dimension; to challenging today’s perception of development aid by collaboratively building community resilience from the grassroots level up.

    The intensive work and targeted inputs from experienced mentors paid off: two of the ideas took off immediately: The chemical leasing promotion project turned into a research project to establish evidence for its environmental benefits and the latter – Noumenm – became one of our collaborators during the Deep Dive 2013.

    Find out more about the project ideas of the MF Idea Incubator 2012 and the Fellows behind them here.

    The Idea Incubator helped me give a shape to my amorphous ideas related to grassroots innovation.

    Amrita Nanda, Incubatee 2012


For more information, questions, and anything else - including how to participate as mentors - contact Lars Dietzel directly.

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