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OPEN CALL: Improve your skills on systems innovation

Updated: Jan 5, 2022

We provide professionals with the tools needed to join the generation of climate innovators for a transition to a net-zero society.

The programme breaks boundaries by drawing together climate change organisations and professionals from different backgrounds, sectors and experience levels.

The program experience is the only one of its kind, enabling professionals and organisations to get out of their comfort zone and look at things differently while experimenting and innovating to address climate change.

Pioneers into Practice program is for you, when

  • You have higher education related to environment or sustainability.

  • You have working experience in environmental field for at least 4 years.

Pioneers into Practice Elements:

  • eLearning on systems innovation

  • Workshops on systems innovation in Tallinn

  • Practical group challenges on local environmental challenges

  • International placements to get professional experience in another topic or sector

We’ve continuously experimented and evolved our learning approach, and we offer participants tools and techniques that focus on practical application. Through placements, group projects, eLearning and workshops, knowledge around these tools and the systems mindset is developed, tested and applied to real life climate challenges.

Many people make the decision to move into the sector or study climate at university because they already recognise that the race to a net-zero carbon economy is one of the most complex challenges of our time.

For example, we now know that traditional approaches to innovation, which tend to focus on a single or just a few aspects of an issue, aren’t effective enough to solve the problem. Climate change is deeply interconnected with other huge global problems such as food security, water scarcity, biodiversity depletion and environmental degradation.

Analysis of challenges and creation of solutions need to address entire systems, which therefore means a wholly different approach.

For over 10 years, Pioneers into Practise has been developing and delivering systems innovation capacity-building to climate change professionals. Long before this was the topic on every industry’s lips, through experimentation, agile learning and practical upskilling, the programme was providing participants with the systems innovation skills needed to lead a rapid transformation to a net-zero economy.

Application deadline is 30th of August 2021

Operating across Europe, we create dynamic networks of industry professionals, business owners, entrepreneurs, public administration officials and freelancers, and we equip them with practical skills in systems innovation.

In climate and sustainability, this is the time to be ambitious. We want to test participants, stretch their limits and encourage them to think differently! To reach our net-zero goals, we need to keep learning, admit where we’re going wrong and think big.

Pioneers into Practice provides the opportunity to experiment in new fields and topics, learn on a personal and professional level and come away with a network that can last a lifetime.

Pioneers into Practice Timeline 2021:

  • 5th July – 30th August – Applications open for Pioneers & Hosts

  • 1th - 2th of August - Interviews with applicants

  • September – eLearning on Systems Innovation

  • 20th – 22nd September – Introductory Workshop on Systems Innovation (in Pirita, Tallinn)

  • September – November – Group Projects about solving one local environmental issue by implementing systems innovation tools

  • October - November – Optional international placements - get work experience in an hosting business/organisation for 4 weeks

  • 23rd – 24th November – Final Workshop and presenting Group Project outcomes (in Pirita, Tallinn)


Remember that the best investment is educating yourself!

  • Get new skills and competencies in systems innovation

  • Put theory into practice by solving real sustainability challenges

  • Establish professional connections in new countries and sectors


What is systems innovation?

Systems innovation entails a completely different approach in the way we define and address problems. Problems are no longer simple or isolated. Instead, they can affect a myriad of stakeholders with different perceptions and interests, are cross-sectoral, long-term, and interconnected with the ecosystem and the societal structures.

Let us explain with an example. If you make a self-driving electric car without changing the system around it, it is unlikely to have widespread appeal, and the potential for huge positive environmental impact would be lost. A car isn't made in a vacuum. It exists within a system which includes:

  • The infrastructure and roads it drives on

  • The fueling stations

  • The loans people may use to buy it

  • The service stations

  • The cultural significance attributed to car ownership etc

That is where systems innovation comes in and the program introduces numerous practical tools to bring innovation that is integrated, long-lasting and brings maximum benefit for the society and our environment.

Systems innovation has some key characteristics in terms of innovation management which sets it apart from more conventional perceptions and/or ways of dealing with innovation. The program aim is to coach next generation climate innovators that every business and organisation needs. Step outside of your comfort zone, educate yourself to bring innovation and get higher results in your future actions!

Your organisation wants to host an expert: APPLY HERE!

For more information about the program in Estonia, please contact Kadri Piho

Some moments from Estonian Pioneers into Practice:


Additional information:


Pioneers into Practice is funded by EIT Climate-KIC, that is the EU’s largest public private partnership addressing climate change through innovation to build a zero-carbon economy. It addressed climate change across four priority themes: urban areas, land use, production systems, and climate metrics and finance. Education is at the heart of these themes to inspire and empower the next generation of climate leaders. EIT Climate-KIC runs programmes for students, professionals, start-ups and innovators across Europe via centers in major cities, convening a community of the best people and organisations. EIT Climate-KIC is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union.

Pioneers into Practice is supported by KÜSK - National Foundation of Civil Society and The Ministry of the Interior.

#PioneersintoPractice #YourPathYourFuture

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