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Three 'start-ups' to revolutionize the cities of the future in Guatemala

The winners of the Progreso X Exponential Changemakers 2021 open innovation program have risen above the rest for their solutions and technologies capable of solving strategic challenges in water resource management and smart cities In the last 20 years, Guatemala has experienced a population growth of 45%. Currently, 52.03% of the population lives in urban areas compared to 42.11% in 1995 . Although this rapid urbanization has generated multiple opportunities, it has also brought challenges, especially around the provision of decent housing, mobility, security and management of water resources.

With these problems in mind, Progreso, through its corporate accelerator, Progreso X, presented a few months ago the third edition of its open innovation program, Exponential Changemakers (ECM), with the aim of  redefining current spaces in Guatemala and designing ñ ar their cities in the future, putting people at the center and with a focus sustainable, scalable and replicable . The question that the participating start-ups had to answer was this: How could we rethink the way we live, challenging the current design of our cities and the way we use our natural resources? 

For weeks, the open innovation program carried out a comprehensive and global search for innovative agents in the water tech  and smart cities verticals  , capable of tackling the challenge posed. The participants of the program completed a first application to later be contacted and interviewed. After a difficult selection they were filtered to the 11 best candidates, becoming finalists for the intensive week of competition, consisting of a demo day and  boot camp.

With enthusiasm, a lot of energy and multiple time zones week lived Demo Day and Boot Camp, where the finalists participants had the opportunity to meet the different units of business Progress, who transmitted their main challenge í years and needs for attending . After collecting all the necessary information they received during the understanding sessions, inspirational talks given by experts in water tech  and smart cities,  among other preparation activities, the participants presented their pitch final, which included a possible work plan to be implemented based on their business models, their solutions and their technologies.  

From this experience emerged the three winning start-ups of Exponential Changemakers 2021, which are currently preparing to start next year working together with Progreso during a pilot project. The winners and their respective use cases to be solved are detailed below: 

1. HydroIQ Country: Kenya Use case: Solutions to transmit data in real time of the water inlets and outlets, which allow determining the water balance, quantifying possible leaks and optimizing consumption.
2. Metropolder   Country Netherlands  Use case: Solutions to integrate alternative options for independent water collection and treatment of the resource according to its use.
3. Remote Waters  Country Chile  Use case: Solutions to integrate alternative options for independent water collection and treatment of the resource according to its use. 

During 2022 the three pilot projects  (innovation loops) will be implemented, this being the last phase of the Exponential Changemakers open innovation program. These projects will be implemented using the framework of the philosophy í to agile . Likewise, each start-up  will be accompanied and led by a representative of the Progreso business units in which the main implementations of the pilot and the accompaniment of Progreso X are located.

The Progreso commitment

Since its creation, Progreso has emerged as a company distinguished by its consistency , whose actions are a reflection of the values ​​that characterize it as an organization: putting the human being at the center of its solutions, adapting its operations towards a model responsible and sustainable business, aware of the necessary approach to quality and sustainability that the world needs.

An open innovation program is truly successful when the concept is brought into implementation. The codevelopment format and the agile methodology framework have been essential for the success of old editions and now it will also be so in this pilot, with the openness to adaptation and change, the organization has experienced continuity in a transformation that already lived. Being able to spread the need for reinvention and continuous improvement not only of the tools, processes or technologies used, but also of the own  mindset  of all collaborators. 

To know in detail the questions to the challenges and use cases visit the Progress X page.


Original article featured in the MIT Tech review here.

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