60th Anniversary Celebration of
Moonshot Thinking

Watch the highlights from the celebration of the visionary mindset that drives change for our planet.

Applying Moonshot thinking to tackle Climate Change

On May 25, 1961, John F. Kennedy announced he would land a man on the moon and return him safely back to Earth. Now, 60 years later, we celebrate more than the anniversary of the Moonshot.

We celebrate a mindset that drives innovation and sustainable transformation.

How can we use this mindset to address the greatest challenges of our times? 

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The Speakers

Climate Adaptation Director, UNFCC

Full Member of the Club of Rome; Author, Co-Founder, AQAL Capital 

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John Elkington

Founder & Chief Pollinator, Volans; Author “Green Swans”

Moonshot Ambassador & Advisor, Google (X)

Head of Innovation & Ventures Office, ESA, the European Space Agency

Senior Advisor, UNITAC Professor at HafenCity University, Hamburg

Coordinator of the Digital Transformation Task Force, UN Environment Programme 

Founder & Transdisciplinary Storyteller, MPATHY Studio

Regional Director for Europe, C40

CEO & Curator, Futur/io Institute 

UNSDG Advocate 

Youssef Nassef on the urgent global need in Moonshot Thinking

Martine Nicole-Rojina on Space Art

Dr. Mariana Bozesan on UN SDGs as a Moonshot for Impact Investing

John Elkington on Regenerative Economy

Harald Neidhardt on Before this decade is out


The virtual event brings together some of the greatest minds in innovation and sustainability in a 2 hour live-stream on May 25, at 3:00pm CEST.

We’re celebrating ideas that shoot for the moon. We’re collectively addressing the most pressing challenges of our times, and the future of our home, planet earth. And we’re creating action-plans for challenges we intend to win.

The opening keynotes will highlight the urgency of climate change, the role of innovation in the development towards sustainable & regenerative cities and examples where our host city of Hamburg is driving innovation, e.g. in renewable energies. Youssef Nassef will talk about the role of the UN Climate Change secretariat on the road to Glasgow for COP26 and his emergent programme of Resilient Frontiers – connecting breakthrough technologies and 8 new pathways towards sustainable futures.

Senator Michael Westhagemann – Minister of Economy & Innovation, City of Hamburg 

Youssef Nassef – Director Adaptation, Climate Secretariat, UNFCCC  

Harald Neidhardt – CEO & Curator, Futur/io

What can we learn from the span of the early space programmes of NASA starting in the sixties to the support of innovation via startup ventures and space missions by the European Space Agency? How can we scale the “overview effect” of astronauts watching our blue marble and the appreciation for the unique home and its current challenges? We need a thousand Kennedys to help us drive the ambition for exponential change. One of the most prominent places where moonshot thinking is taking place is X, the moonshot factory by Google-parent, Alphabet in Mountain View, California. We will hear stories about failures, big hairy audacious goals, self driving cars and energy projects.

Frank Salzgeber – Head of Innovation & Ventures, ESA  

Pablo Rodriguez –European Ambassador, (Google) X The Moonshot Factory

Harald Neidhardt (Moderation) – Futur/io Institute, CEO & Curator

Our keynote of the day is held by John Elkington, the author “Green Swans” – The Coming Boom in Regenerative Capitalism – his latest of twenty published books. John is “a dean of the corporate responsibility movement for three decades” – according to Business Week and his current position is the founding partner, Chairman & Chief Pollinator of Volans, a business consultancy in London. He proclaimed the “triple bottom line” (people, planet, profit) and recalled it in a Harvard Business Review article.

John Elkington –  Author of Green Swan, Founder & Chief Pollinator of Volans

Today’s moonshot is the solving of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development goals. In this panel we get an update of today’s challenges and opportunities where breakthrough innovation and research can play an important role. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the WHO and public health became the front line of vulnerability and a joint global effort to “flatten the curve”. With a notion to “build better” in getting out of the crisis, can we learn from understanding social issues in other key areas of the SDG’s agenda like gender equality and youth empowerment?
A big part in understanding climate crisis hotspots is the development of sustainable and regenerative cities and communities. The HafenCity University has gained international recognition by opening a lab for UN Habitat for research in citizen involvement processes and innovation in data sciences. How might we empower citizens to help make cities more sustainable and use digital transformation from placemaking to achieve net zero emissions in line with the Paris Agreement of 2015?

Dianne Dain –  Innovation Consultant WHO & UN Tech Labs 

Prof. Gesa Ziemer – Senior Advisor at UN Innovation Technology Accelerator or Cities, Head of the City Science Lab at HafenCity University Hamburg

Júlia López Ventura – Regional Director for Europe, C40 

Marc Buckley (Moderation) – Climate Activist, UNSDG Advocate, Futur/io Faculty

Launch of the new mission by Futur/io Institute on the way to COP26

Sustainable innovation stems from a deep understanding of the challenges – falling in love with the problems. In this panel discussion, we hear from the experience of decades of impact investing with high financial returns and a high impact on Environmental and Social responsibility, ethical corporate Governance (ESG).

One of the agencies with a mandate to help co-create the digital transformation agenda (CODES) inside the UN is the UNEP – already at the forefront of using digital transformation to leverage data to map out climate challenges in conflict zones.
How can we learn from practical examples in innovation and startups to help develop a digital ecosystem for the planet and beat our odds before this decade is out?

Dr. Mariana Bozesan – Co-Founder at AQAL AG, President at AQAL Foundation 
David Jensen – Head of Digital Transformation, UNEP 
Marc Buckley (Moderation) – Climate Activist, UNSDGs Advocate, Futur/io Faculty

Artists have a special gift to inspire us, guide us to the hard questions and remind us of the beauty of human creativity – while becoming a futuristic mirror of our society.

Art can play an important role in systemic change while encouraging first steps towards the unknown and transformative mindset changes. After a year in lockdown can we better relate to a nine month journey to Mars?

Martine-Nicole Rojina – Analog Astronaut, Sister Moon / First Steps

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Deep Dive Into the Topic

With the 60th anniversary of JFK’s famous moonshot speech, in which he made clear his ambitions to put a man on the moon, fast approaching, Harald Neidhardt has set his sights on applying this moonshot thinking to new, more pertinent challenges. Neidhardt recently sat down with Doreen Rietentiet on the Let’s Talk Change podcast to discuss his new mission – applying this moonshot thinking to tackling the ever-escalating climate crisis. read more