Climate and Innovation – the department starts 2023 with a new name

One department started the new year with a name change: Sustainability and Innovation became Climate and Innovation. The new name underlines IKEM’s ambition to identify and bring to use new approaches for dealing with the climate crisis.

Find out more about the background of the name change in an interview with Anika Nicolaas Ponder, head of the Climate and Innovation department at IKEM. There, she also tells us about the exciting projects being launched in the new year and what makes working in the Climate and Innovation team unique.

From Sustainability and Innovation to Climate and Innovation. What was the underlying motivation for this change?

The term sustainability is very broad. It covers a lot of different things, from access to clean water, education and gender equality. These are all very important topics. We found that over the past years the climate crisis has really risen through the ranks to be our number one priority. We want to reflect that urgency in the name of our department. So, from now on — under the flag of Climate and Innovation — we are going to dive deeper into climate mitigation, justice, finance and adaptation, while of course continuing to cement our existing expertise in social innovation and science communication.

What makes working in the Climate and Innovation team so special?

IKEM-Mitarbeiter mit Andrea Raquel Ruiz Lopez und Marina Braun von RevoluSun – Preisträger des Social Innovation Challenge des ENGAGE Projektes
IKEM selects the winners of the Social Innovation Challenge, a competition for social ideas, products or services related to the energy transition.

The Climate and Innovation team is an interdisciplinary superhero team with everybody having their own specific skill set – bringing the best out of economics, sociology, cultural science, design thinking, law and beyond – together into one unique portfolio. That is already very special on its own. But what I think really makes it shine is the team spirit, the support, and the passion that we bring to our work every day. And not just to our work, also to each other. This is even more important, when you are working on an overwhelming topic like the climate crisis, to continue to have the positive energy that makes you want to move forward.

Which projects await you in 2023?

We really look forward to continuing to push the boundaries on science communication and social innovation. On the one hand, we are going to launch our Energiewende-O-Mat, a one stop shop for citizens wanting to participate in, engage in or invest in the energy transition. On the other hand, we are also launching a new project called InfoDrag, where we are going to unpack complex climate topics in video explainers moderated by Berlins leading Drag Queen.

The InfoDrag project produces funny videos about climate and energy issues, moderated by a drag queen.

If you had one wish for your team in 2023, what would it be?

I would love to land a big science communication project, that really highlights the beautiful, empowering potential of centralized renewable energy projects — literally moving power to the people. And not just in Germany, but ideally European or even worldwide. I really am excited about this positive narrative, and I think we can all use an optimistic story today.


IKEM – Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility e.V.