SAN FRANCISCO -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Today, British Airways announced UnGrounded, an innovation lab in the sky designed to connect industry leaders and creative minds for the purpose of tackling a challenge that affects the next generation of global innovators. To kick off this program, British Airways is partnering with the United Nations: The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Decide Now Act (DNA) Summit.
Taking place at 30,000 feet in the air aboard a private British Airways flight from San Francisco to London, UnGrounded participants will address the misalignment between where science and technology talent is emerging and where opportunity exists for talent to realize their potential. They will be tasked with designing a platform to inspire and connect this talent with civic and commercial opportunities, to accelerate innovation in communities around the world.
“Our understanding is that the talent crunch is a real issue for companies and organizations in major tech hubs around the world,” said Amir Dossal, Chairman, Global Partnerships Forum, and Special Representative of the Secretary-General of ITU, United Nations. "We need to give people the opportunity to discover and be discovered, to grow skills, provide experience and uncover new ideas globally.”
Upon landing in London the group will present their work to a like-minded group of global thought leaders to decide how to put this into action. The UnGrounded flight experience will be designed by innovation firm, IDEO.
The ‘passengers’ will be selected for their energy, ideas and experience. Working with British Airways on this challenge and recruitment are leaders in the tech community, including:
This program is part of a larger initiative by British Airways to open the door to collaboration with the start-up community in Silicon Valley. The airline recently joined RocketSpace, an open innovation campus in the heart of San Francisco, and will be actively engaging with the start-up community through the RocketSpace Corporate Innovation Program.
“As one of the world’s leading airlines, British Airways deeply believes in the power of face-to-face engagement to ignite new ideas, co-create and accelerate innovation,” said Simon Talling-Smith, EVP of the Americas for British Airways. “We are focused on how we can bring people together to affect change within global society as well as within our own business.”
Key Facts: The UnGrounded Flight
The challenge aligns with the UN Broadband Commission’s mandate to achieve “digital inclusion for all.” The commission advocates that all people should have access to affordable information and communication technologies for their social and economic development.
Ungrounded brings together talent from diverse backgrounds to disrupt and co-create to affect change within the global innovation community as well as within the airline industry. The program was born and will grow in Silicon Valley through its inaugural “Innovation Lab in the Sky” – 100 innovators at 30,000 feet coming together to ideate and create solutions against a global socio-economic challenge. For more information visit www.ungroundedthinking.com.
Follow us @BritishAirways and join the conversation #BAInnovate
"Innovation is a contact sport. With 100 innovators from Silicon Valley together at 30,000 feet, anything is possible. Our research shows that building talent networks is at the heart of creating high value and high velocity innovation. I'm delighted to be part of this ambitious initiative that has the potential to impact the next generation of innovators around the globe." – Marguerite Gong Hancock, Associate Director of SPRIE, Stanford Graduate School of Business
"It is exciting to be joining the wisdom and energy of two great technology clusters, San Francisco and London. Both environments know well the first-hand challenge of talent discovery as well as the opportunities created by promoting additional technology clusters around the world.” – Duncan Logan, Founder & CEO, RocketSpace
“The global reach of UnGrounded and the resulting opportunities for talented innovators around the world makes this a program for others to follow closely.” – Leor Stern, Head of Business Development, Niantic Labs, Google
“This inaugural UnGrounded flight is an exciting, new approach to innovation and something we believe the Silicon Valley community will embrace. British Airways is pushing the boundaries in finding solutions to global challenges and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.” – Gerald Brady, Managing Director of the Venture Capital Group, Silicon Valley Bank
“Magic happens when Silicon Valley’s brightest technologists and most spirited creatives share in the festival of ideas. UnGrounded is an ultimate innovation environment. It has the color and structure for interesting people, to solve interesting problems. This is the creative kind of initiative that we celebrate." – Celestine Johnson, Creative Director at Innovation Endeavors
"As a long-time British Airways advisor, I have seen first-hand that as a company they are committed to innovation, entrepreneurship and the Bay Area community. UnGrounded is strong proof of that commitment." – Rhonda Abrams, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling author, and successful entrepreneur and founder of PlanningShop
"I am delighted that British Airways is reaching out to the creative community to really think outside the box, in order to address global challenges. We need to bring about Digital Inclusion for All. I am very glad that British Airways is looking to innovation as the avenue to finding lasting solutions and look forward to the outcome at the DNA Summit in June. I wish this dynamic group much success.” – Dr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General, International Telecommunication Union, United Nations