This week, delegates from 195 countries are gathered in Poland to discuss the fate of the planet. The annual Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change runs for two weeks, bringing representatives of governments and civil society organizations together to negotiate progress on the major global agreements on climate change, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. In this spirit, Tsai CITY’s OpenLab joined the global conversation on Saturday, November 8, hosting a multi-stakeholder design sprint at Yale’s Kroon Hall. The design sprint was part of a process that began in August, when the OpenLab joined forces with Data-Driven Yale and the Yale Institute for Network Science to kickstart the research theme of how blockchain — a decentralized digital ledger technology — could be applied to what might be the world’s hardest accounting problem: tracking and managing the atmosphere’s limited carbon budget. The December sprint zoomed in on a piece of this puzzle, asking participants to brainstorm how to securely integrate data gathered by internet-connected sensors and smart devices into blockchain-based climate accounting tools.
The design sprint was the first part of a series of “Open Earth Collabathons” focused on developing open-source climate tracking tools, which will continue with a collaborative coding contest in April. The initiative is being led by Tsai CITY innovator-in-residence Martin Wainstein, an expert in blockchain and emerging technology who leads the OpenLab, and Yale faculty member Angel Hsu, a renowned data scientist who directs Data-Driven Yale and is an expert on non-state climate actions. The sprint was facilitated by Wainstein and student Daniel Csonth (MEM ’20), with the support of CITY fellow Sophie Janaskie and student entrepreneur Alexia Akbay (MPH ’19). Get a glimpse of the design sprint process below.