Glimpses from Green Penguin Project
January 15, 2021 - Mojca Markizeti

»1 day to go till the absolute Global Climathon Winner announcement. Green Penguin has won the public voting, we all cross our fingers and hope that the Climathon jury will recognize the potential and benefits Green Penguin can bring to society, but no matter what happens, We are infinitely thankful, yet humble. We are competing against other great ideas and in the end, the jury will once again review the top three ideas. The winner will be finally announced on Thursday, 21 January!

In the recent days, we have received unbelievable support from the Slovenian, Icelandic, European and global communities, media, business alliances, NGOs, companies, the cities of Ljubljana and Reykjavik, schools, parents and, most impressively, children.

We are overjoyed and thankful!

However, the success of our Green Penguin idea is not a matter of coincidence or luck. Behind this success is a committed team who has worked tirelessly to exceed all expectations, and a great idea that carried really high potential, environmental and social benefits, as well as numerous possibilities for upgrades and further development.

I guess society has recognized its value and awarded us with many votes.

It is now time to tell you the story behind the idea, introduce the team, and walk you through the happenings of the last few months.

We are a group of nine enthusiasts from two different companies: seven from Iskraemeco and two from Klappir. Most of us did not know each other before the November Climathon, when Ljubljana challenged us on how to create carbon-neutral city through the digitalization of buildings?

Only a few had met before but have never worked on a project together. The idea to seize the opportunity of Ljubljana Climathon was my proposal, as I’m responsible for sustainability and all trends and activities concerning sustainability at Iskraemeco. After getting the support of Iskraemeco’s top management, I formed a team of colleagues who I believed shared my passion. We were happy that Klappir colleagues agreed to join us as in that period both companies were just getting to know each other. But we knew that our technologies and solutions can be merged for the greater benefit of our customers and society. We could say that the Climathon opportunity came just at the right moment.

 

OUR TEAM

 

The whole team got together a day before the official Climathon Ljubljana event, just to get to know each other. During the short “kick-off” meeting, I asked all team members:

  • What is your passion?
  • What sort of footprint do you want to leave on this planet?

I already knew at the time what it takes to tackle the challenge of coming up with the best global idea of the year for solving climate crisis. It takes passionate individuals, committed to addressing challenges much greater than themselves and their knowledge. This commitment is fueled by the determination that as an individual you will try to use all your knowledge and creativity to improve the world to make it a better and safer place.
Some people would call it “idealism”, but all the members of our team named it “responsibility”.

At that point I knew we have the right team, a committed team that will do an amazing job.

The energy out of our first meeting gave us a real boost to start the work the next day and continue throughout the week. Our days were filled with debates, ideas, argumentation, research and laughter, often until late into the night. We are thankful for all the chat portals and other available digital tools through which we were able to study the Climathon methodology and put our knowledge, creativity, passions and ability to good use.

We all put in our best efforts and designed an idea where, smart, digital technologies are upgraded with visualization and gamification. In Green Penguin game schools compete against each other on reducing CO2 footprint with changing their behaviours, CO2 is recalculated into ice not melted and penguins saved.”

Mariia was our visual master, created a cute cartoon and other visuals and was determined to make Green Penguin work. She perfectly animated the role of the child in the cartoon and included her playfulness in all parts of our project.

Nuno was always thinking about the technology and making its implications understandable for children. Very importantly, he was our “devil’s advocate”. When the rest of us had already moved to the next chapter, he made us re-think it all in order to perfect the solution design.

Thorsteinn was a product developer from Klappir, who brought to the project his vast knowledge and extensive experience on the issues of CO2 footprint. I congratulate him on his readiness to read all the chats, e-mails and follow all our communication.

Lara was the perfect support we needed, helping us from all possible angles, with research, communication, texts, calculations, and organization.

Vladimir:his knowledge in business development and start-ups was priceless to us and his comments were always on-point.

Robi:fueled by his IT background and commitment to change the future, Robi contributed to many aspects of the project, calmed down many discussions, and got himself a new nickname “Mr. Bravo” for his role of the mayor in the cartoon.

Hossam:he was always thinking about how our technology really meets the demands and though he was not the loudest in the discussions, he was very firm when stating his opinion. Probably that’s what landed him the role of the storyteller.

Anton joined us from Klappir during the Global Climathon campaign and did a great job on the promotion plan and its execution.

Mojca as the main driving force behind Green Penguin, she was busy connecting all the dots. Her most frequent quote: “I have a task for you”.

Our mentor in the Climathon Ljubljana was Ms. Violeta Bulc, a former EU Commissioner. Every day she joined us for some time, listened to our discussions, ideas and arguments. She always asked just the right questions to provoke us or encourage us in our work.

Our team has another very special member who has earned her mention because she contributed an important element of the project – the name of the idea. This is Zoja and her penguin friend.

On the first day of November Climathon, our assignment was to search for ideas and narrow them down to one. We came close to the idea of Green Penguin, but we named it “Green Win”. When I came home, I woke up my daughters and discussed the idea with them. Zoja, who always sleeps with her penguin, listened to me and said at the end: “A great idea, but why don’t you call it Green Penguin, as you are saving the penguins?” And so we did. That night I wrote the story about the penguins and school children, read it to the team the very next day and from then onward we knew exactly how to continue.

Of course, none of it would have been possible without the support of our leaders, so we consider Luis Goncalves, Iskraemeco CEO, Bahaa Abdullah, Iskraemeco CFO, and Jon Thorsteinsson, Klappir CEO, as honorary members of our team. For both companies, sustainability is an important part of their strategy:

  • Iskraemeco, based on 75 years of experiences in developing metering technologies and solutions, made it clear that data is one of the main tools for a better world. Iskraemeco feels responsible to explore, develop and integrate technology which can empower society to improve their energy efficiency and lower their CO2 footprint;
  • Klappir, a software company that empowers businesses, municipalities, investors, and governments to work systematically toward improved sustainability.

Finally, we need to know that Climathon Ljubljana would never happen without the full support of the City of Ljubljana and CER – Sustainable Business Network. We consider them as members of our team since we created a space for our innovation and creativity together:

  • The City of Ljubljana, the first “green capital”, the city on top of Lonely Planet’s list of the world’s most sustainable destinations, has a very ambitious goal to become carbon-neutral. The City of Ljubljana defined the challenges for the Climathon.
  • CER – Sustainable Business Network, organized and led Climathon Ljubljana, motivated the City of Ljubljana to engage in Climathon, and is responsible for making Climathon Ljubljana a great national event with many participants and great solutions.

Thank you, my dear Green Penguin team, for all your efforts and hard work. Together we are now looking forward to transforming Green Penguin idea into reality.

Written by: Mojca, Markizeti, Iskraemeco Head of Sustainability and a main engine behind the Green Penguin