LAUNCH is a collaborative public-private partnership between USAID, NASA, NIKE Inc., and the U.S. Department of State which aims to identify, showcase and support innovative approaches to global sustainability challenges in both developing and developed countries. Created in early 2010, LAUNCH searches for visionaries, whose world-class ideas, technologies or programs show great promise for making tangible impacts on some of the biggest challenges in international development. To date, it completed four program cycles (Water, Health, Energy, and Beyond Waste) and has kicked off a fifth cycle focused on transforming the system of textiles and apparel manufacturing.
For each challenge, LAUNCH convenes a group of thought leaders for an expert consultation called the “Big Think” to help identify the areas ripe for innovation within that sector and guide us in sharpening our challenge statement. A two-day Summit follows, where global stakeholders from across that cycle’s system build a collective understanding of the systems problems outlined in the LAUNCH challenge. The challenge is publically released at the Summit, beginning an open innovation process that will identify hundreds of innovations related to the challenge.