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  • Writer's pictureJarratt Ong

Interseed Soft Launches with Social Innovation Collective!

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

art credit: Artese Studios

We were LIVE at Social Innovation Collective's Community Forum 2020

Irsyad, our co-founder, shared his journey of navigating the impact space and also about his views on how to mobilise Southeast Asia in order to tackle sustainability challenges and helping to create the sustainable cities and communities of our dreams.

The highlights of the talk include:

🔷 His experiences with YSI SEA's Innovation Programme

🔷 How he drives sustainable innovation among youths

🔷 The challenges of creating impact

🔷 Our evolving and scaling approaches to support impact start-ups

His full one hour talk is available at SIC's Community Forum 2020. The page also features amazing talents such as Participate In Design and bantu so do check them out. We are grateful to be a part of this sustainability community.

The importance of focusing on 3 verticals how they complements one another (13:50)

Initially, the 'focus' was on 17 SDGs with the ambition of trying to solve everything. However, over time, there was a shift to focus on 3 sustainability themes, and moving away from the metric-based approach, that Irsyad believes would have potential for market ready solutions to drive impact in a sustainable society.

The 3 themes are Circular Economy, Food and Agriculture, and Clean Energy Transitions which he believes will have interconnectedness that can encourage holistic solutions to drive long-term change through market-based solutions.

Thinking beyond "common" approaches (17:20)

Among participants in 2018, most initial solutions suggested for Food and Agriculture were related to a platform to connect consumers and farmers, the Circular Economy sees some form of recycling, and Clean Energy tends to generate solar panel related ideas.

The challenge is that if everyone tries to solve these challenges in the same way, we will be missing out on many other market opportunities for innovation in other parts of the value chain.

Furthermore, in a crowded market of similar ideas, the pressure can undermine existing and scarce resources that could have went to more diverse ideas.

Lastly, solutions such as installing solar panels have their limitations on a technical and execution level such as needing to look into solving energy storage issues etc.

The diversity of ideas through the innovation programmes and moving away from obvious solutions to obvious problems (20:25)

Some of the startups that gone through the programme went to run startups that looked into innovative solutions such as vertical farming.


Adopted from the University of Michigan Sustainability Assessment [Rodriguez et al., 2002]

Hurdles when it comes to creating Impact (31:23)

3 overlapping elements when it comes to creating sustainability:

  • Economics, Societal benefits, Environmental aspects (no negative externalities)

While for a for-profit startup, the main thing they think about:

  • Growth (eg users and revenue)

  • Value-capture (builds onto Growth)

What is an environmentally sustainable society without diversity? There is a wide spectrum of organisations but that unfortunately comes with a wide spectrum of uncertainty, eg how to balance impact/profit, exit mechanism questions etc, where it isnt like a traditional startup that has a clearer objective when it comes to growth due to a less straight forward equation.

  • The art of balancing with the mission as the centre of gravity!

We are evolving and scaling our approach by creating a community to support early-stage impact start-ups (36:00)

Our goals:

  • Supporting early stage impact organisations that are often overlooked.

  • Creating a community with access to mentors, talents, investors and organisations.

  • Channeling energy into them that goes beyond a 5-month innovation programme.

We are helping the impact space understand regional problems and solutions better such as mapping the value chain of packaging, government policies etc and we want a ground-up knowledge base for everyone to tap into.


For more insights, the full one hour talk is available at SIC's Community Forum 2020.

Want to be a part of a sustainability community for founders and talents? Check out our platform for founders and talents!


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