Devin Welch, Summit Delegate and Co-Founder of Sun Tribe Solar, shares some thoughts on the day’s discussions.

Climate change is one of the most complex challenges our society has faced. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, even though the Earth’s climate has changed throughout history, the current warming trend is especially significant, because it seems to be directly linked to human activity since the mid-20th century. Literally everyone has played a part in the challenge we face and each person in the world is a stakeholder in solving it. So, where do we start?

A charge of this magnitude requires not incremental changes, but fundamental transformation of entire industries. The Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UVA’s Darden School of Business is focused on addressing just this type of real world challenge and understands that finding a solution involves bringing together an extraordinarily wide group of stakeholders in a collaborative way, as they did at the recent Jefferson Innovation Summit held on February 22nd in Washington, DC. Executives and leaders from utility companies, clean energy firms, Fortune 500 companies, non-profits and more gathered together to share knowledge and ideas, and to participate in workshop sessions to reimagine how we power the world.

While climate change is daunting, the Summit was reason for hope. Having representatives from diverse industries unanimously acknowledge that the challenge is real and that it is worth working together to solve it set the tone for open discussions on what we can all do to accomplish the huge, time-sensitive transformation needed. The recommendations shared at the Summit will be included in an upcoming policy playbook being created by UVA Darden.  The playbook will identify the actions needed to encourage innovation across a variety of industries. From financing to education to federal policy the recommendations are broad and audacious – exactly as our solutions to this challenge must be. The playbook is a valuable method of sharing ideas across a broad spectrum of stakeholders, but, as the team at Darden knows, it is not the final step. We must all work together to see this playbook executed — continue to engage, continue to innovate, continue to motivate, and continue to educate. I believe we will be able to meet the challenge in time, and formats like the Summit are precisely the way we will.