Challenges

Rise to the Challenge: let’s build real solutions for today’s toughest problems.

Get Started: Open Challenges

Got ideas, insights or just a perspective? Share them. Together with a global community, you can help design change.

Challenge
2018 Bridgebuilder Challenge

Let's address urgent global challenges at the intersections of peace, prosperity, and planet in radically new ways.

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Challenge
Nike Circular Innovation Challenge

Use Nike Grind materials to help create new products and a waste-free future.

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Challenge
Early Childhood Innovation Prize

Help maximize every child’s potential during their first three years of life.

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How Challenges Work

Every Challenge works a little differently. Across Challenges, we draw from the process of design thinking to lead us towards innovation. This typically happens over the course of a few different Phases. We’ll guide you through every step along the way:

Inspire

Spark New Insights

Start with a big, activating question that brings people together. Share stories or research to build inspiration and empathy for those affected by the issue.

Ideate

Think Big, Build Fast

Brainstorm bold new ideas and apply fresh insights to advance existing concepts. Test things out: get the tools to build a quick prototype and learn what works.

Iterate

Reflect and Refine

Share comments to help uncover issues and new opportunities. Use expert feedback, community support, and design tools to rapidly improve ideas.

Impact

Make it Happen

Elevate and celebrate ideas with great potential for impact. Connect with partners and work together to bring ideas to life around the globe.

The Big Questions

We bet you have them—and we’ve got you covered.

What are OpenIDEO Challenges?

Challenges are guided idea accelerators that give people worldwide the design tools, connections, and support to build solutions for tough societal problems. This is a great place to start if you’re getting to know OpenIDEO.

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Who can join Challenges?

Anyone! No matter what field you work in, what level of experience you have, or what country you’re from, if you're ready to work with others to tackle big issues, we'd love for you to join us. You may join as an individual, as a representative of an organization, or as part of a team. We believe that by sharing our diverse perspectives, talents and ideas with each other, we’ll be better equipped to tackle issues in innovative ways.

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What do I have to do, and how long will it take?

We welcome you to share your ideas and help develop solutions with people around the world. The primary goal of Challenges is to invite people to create and advance ideas over the course of three to five months, ideally spending at least a couple hours a week building solutions. The more you put into the process, the more you can expect to get out of it. There are lots of ways to get involved depending on your skills and capacity, from sharing quick feedback to hosting events. Be sure to read the Brief for every Challenge, as each one may offer different opportunities to jump in as the Challenge progresses.

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What are Challenge Phases, and how can I participate in each Phase?

Our typical Challenge will go through a number of Phases, inspired by the phases in the design thinking process. Check the Brief on the Challenge you are interested in to see which Phases are included, or the 'How Challenges Work' section on this page for a general overview of our process. Each Phase may last from a week to more than a month, so be sure to note big deadlines on the Challenge Brief timeline. 

In each Phase, you’ll have the chance to try out a different part of the design process, and we’ll share tools and activities to support you along the way. The Brief will include a description of the activities possible in each Phase: from sharing research and ideas, to participating in events, and collaborative feedback. Some activities—like submitting ideas or editing posts—may no longer be possible after certain Phases are completed. Throughout, you can always help improve submissions by sharing feedback in the comments.

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What is a Top Idea?

Top Ideas are ideas that best answer the Challenge question and that we believe have the most potential for impact in the world, selected by our Challenge Sponsor and our team according to the evaluation criteria listed on every Challenge Brief. Top Ideas may be awarded funding and other implementation support by our Sponsors. Even if your idea isn’t ultimately selected, though, there’s still so much you can gain by participating in the Challenge.

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Do I need to have an idea already?

No existing idea required. Each Challenge is different: some look for existing concepts backed by established organizations, while some seek brand new ideas to develop. If you would like your submission to be considered as a Top Idea contender, be sure to check that it satisfies the eligibility criteria found on the Challenge Brief. Regardless, you can add anything from back-of-the-napkin sketches to ready-to-scale projects to every Challenge, and no matter the stage of your idea you’ll gain helpful insights and tools going through our process.

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Who will see my idea?

When you post your idea, it will be shared openly with the Challenge community. Why? We've seen that the best innovation comes from co-creation amongst people with varied skills and experiences—people like you and the thousands of talented individuals that make up the OpenIDEO community. We encourage you to welcome feedback, share your expertise, and build on each other’s ideas. We call this open innovation, and trust us: it works. If you have big concerns about intellectual property, read our General FAQ to learn how you may privately share sensitive information.

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Who works on Challenges at OpenIDEO?

Each Challenge is created in partnership between the OpenIDEO team and a Sponsor organization working to drive social innovation. Together with the Sponsor, we’ll review and evaluate every submission, identifying Top Ideas for celebration and support. Interested in sponsorship? Learn More.

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What if I have more questions about the Challenge platform or process?

If you’re looking for more details on using the Challenge platform or process, check out the Challenges FAQ. For questions about OpenIDEO in general, find answers here.

Ready to Take the Lead?

If you've got design, entrepreneurial, or previous Challenge experience, check out our community leadership opportunities.

Explore Opportunities

Past Challenges

Dig into our previous Challenges and see the change our community is making worldwide.

Challenge

Circular Design Challenge

How might we get products to people without generating plastic waste?

Learn More

Challenge

Education in Emergencies Challenge

How might we improve educational outcomes for children and youth...

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Challenge

Disability and Inclusion Challenge

How might we reduce stigma and increase opportunities for people with disabilities?

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Challenge

BridgeBuilder Challenge

How might we address urgent global challenges at the intersections...

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More Challenges

Challenge

End of Life Challenge

How might we reimagine the end-of-life experience for ourselves and our loved ones?

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Challenge

Food Waste Challenge

How might we dramatically reduce waste by transforming our relationship...

LEARN MORE

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Challenge Programs

Sometimes, we’re asked to do a deeper dive into an important issue. Explore these extended collaborations with world-class Sponsors.