Sustainability and Artificial Intelligence: How Machine Learning is Helping Shape the Next Generation of Leaders

Sustainability and Artificial Intelligence: How Machine Learning is Helping Shape the Next Generation of Leaders

Sustainability and Artificial Intelligence: How Machine Learning is Helping Shape the Next Generation of Leaders


Within a global market where job applicants often face discrimination based on gender, age, and race, Seedlink aims to reduce human bias and help companies find the best fit. Founded in 2013, Seedlink was built on the idea that technology can be used as a force for good. Harnessing the power of machine-learning and big data, the company is using AI to reduce unintentional human bias and level the playing field. While Seedlink has helped businesses around the world match with employees, how can this technology be harnessed to identify the next generation of leaders?

As an international initiative, the Nudge Global Impact Challenge aims to select the most passionate and driven young professionals. Each year, candidates aged 23-33 come from all over the world to participate in the Nudge Global Impact Challenge. Started in 2012, the Challenge aims to inspire and empower a new generation of changemakers who are excited about sustainability and driven to create a positive impact.

While on average 60 participants join from companies that range from small to multinational, Nudge also opens up applications for 30 ‘Wild Card’ applicants. Wild Card participants may be students or young professionals working for a company or organisation who do not have sufficient financial means to take part. If selected, these individuals are sponsored. The application fee is then covered by generous donations from industry leaders, foundations, and private donors that are passionate about sustainability education. As they are enthusiastic changemakers from all over the world, Wild Card participants often bring a fresh and valuable perspective to the Challenge.

With hundreds of Wild Card applications a year, however, the selection process has the potential to be labour-intensive. Creating a strategic partnership with Seedlink has played a vital role in streamlining the process. “Seedlink does the first step and supports us as a team,” says Ilse, the Manager of the Nudge Global Impact Challenge. Though applications are also individually screened (and ultimately selected) by the Nudge team, by analysing natural language patterns to catch meta cues on unconsciously portrayed soft skills, competencies, personality traits, and values, Seedlink provides a tool that helps select candidates that are passionate about sustainability, impact, and leadership.

As the partnership has progressed, “their process only gets stronger,” says Ilse. Indeed, Rutger Laman Trip, the Global Director Partnerships at Seedlink, states that the company is continuously improving the application process. By adding new data sets of applicants and their project performance, this ongoing process helps improve the predictivity of the algorithms. From projects that provide solar-powered water infrastructure in conflict-affected regions to projects that aim to provide safer and cleaner affordable dormitory communities for female factory workers in the Philippines, the Challenge has been fortunate to have some exceptional Wild Card participants whose energy and drive inspire both fellow participants and their environment.

It is this passion that will shape the next generation of leaders who are determined to make a global difference. As the world changes, Rutger states that beyond profit, future leaders need to follow a ‘just cause’ and learn to think longer term. Instead of thinking in a ‘finite’ way – a way that is damaging for people and society – he challenges leaders to think beyond to innovate, cooperate, and benefit both end users and society. “[Seedlink] gladly partners with organisations like Nudge that are ambitious and eager to make the world a better place,” says Rutger, “especially if our expertise can be used effectively to make a difference.”

If you would like to participate in the Nudge Global Impact Challenge, applications are now open on the website here.


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