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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)


Tackling global challenges through CISL’s unique expertise in business, finance and policy

Innovation sprints are curated, interdisciplinary programmes with the purpose of accelerating sustainability innovation.  

What is an Innovation Sprint?

Innovation sprints are curated, interdisciplinary programmes with the purpose of accelerating sustainability innovation with or within businesses of all sizes, including the private, public and third sectors.

Dedicated teams are assembled from across the range of expertise within CISL to lead the sprint process, including the Centre for Business Transformation, Centre for Policy and Industrial Transformation and Centre for Sustainable Finance.  This enables us to draw on the most innovative ideas and new thinking.  A sprint will involve a selected external team from within The University of Cambridge, the wider Cambridge innovation ecosystem, our 9,000 strong international network which includes our satellite offices in Brussels and South Africa and partners in our Sino-UK Centre for Sustainability Innovation in China. We may also consult the various industry leadership groups that we host, where relevant.

A sprint will typically take between six to eighteen months and will have four distinct phases:

  • Sprint training: Global desktop review to frame the sprint based on best practice
  • Sprint warm up: Design of the sprint
  • The Sprint: A series of curated events designed to stimulate the innovation process
  • The Post Sprint Interview: Insight collation from the process for dissemination with the client and any media strategy

These sprints focus on the later stages of the commercialisation process for new technologies and translation of established technologies from other sectors, as well as creation of new business models, to catalyse sustainability. 


Who can Sprint?

Sprints can be commissioned by an organisation with a particular sustainability challenge or set of challenges that they wish to address, or through an open innovation collaboration, with complementary organisations, which can be from the public, private and/or third sectors. 


Why Sprint?

Sustainability requires fast, focussed and multidisciplinary innovation – delivering systemic change at a scale and pace commensurate with the global challenges we face and the pressing timescales.  Sprints can help to unlock new commercial opportunities for businesses, assist public sector agencies and third sector organisations to achieve their goals more effectively.


Want to learn more?

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