Challenge:Future was first launched in September 2009 as a global student competition with the goal of fostering ideas and innovative solutions for the world's sustainable future. The 2009/10 innaugural Theme of the Year was The Future of Connecting, which was introduced through 6 starting challenges in the First Round of the competition. The best ideas according to community and judging votes qualified into the Semi-finals, and at the end only 9 of the best teams got the chance to compete for the Grand Prize of 20.000 EUR at the Challenge:Future Summit in Bled, Slovenia from May 14 - 18, 2010.
Let's take a look at how we got from the launch of the competition to the Winners Announcement in Bled!
In order to compete, students had to create or join teams either with their school mates or with peers from around the world. By November 2009, 551 teams were created by students from 71 countries and 245 schools.
In the First Round of the competition, teams were invited to submit their ideas in any of the following six challenges:
During the first public IDEATION phase, teams received valuable feedback from the C:F community and were able to improve their ideas by the beginning of December and get them ready for the first voting phase.
In the first voting phase, community members could vote for solution abstracts, while a panel of 116 judges representing more than 35 countries, 90 institutes and various areas of expertise reviewed each of the ideas in more detail. In total, 16.973 community votes were counted.
In January 2010, 138 teams that earned their spot in the Semi-finals were announced.
Soon afterwards, three new challenges were announced for the second round of the competition (Semi-finals):
This time, teams had to prepare a 3 minute video or presentation of their solution for the community voting, and a more detailed description for the judging panel by mid February. By March, semi-finalist solutions received 10.297 votes.
After combining community votes and judges' grades once again, 9 finalist teams that would be competing at the C:F finals in Bled were finally announced in March.
After the announcement of the 9 finalist teams, the community had the last chance to pick their favorite finalist solution. These were the finalist teams and their proposed solutions:
Meanwhile, all 9 teams had to work on an even more detailed business plan for their solution. On May 17, the finalists presented their solution in front of a judging panel consisting of business leaders and community representatives at the Challenge:Future Summit 2010 in Bled.
The winners were announced a day later, on May 18, 2010 during the C:F Summit Gala Awards Ceremony. Team Backcasters, consisting of Chen Sin Tan and Yen Ching Liew, and their solution for New Metro Interior Design won the Grand Challenge:Future Award of 20.000 EUR. Their school, National University of Singapore, also received the Challenge:Future Most Innovative School award.
During the Awards Ceremony, winners of each of the three final challenges, who have all received a scholarship at IEDC-Bled School of Management, were also announced:
Breakthrough Idea winners: Backcasters
IdeeaLab challenge winners: SureViva
IEDC challenge winners: 180 Degrees
We all hope that the Challenge:Future Summit was not just the final chapter of the annual competition, but also the opening chapter for a series of innovations that will make our world more sustainable for future generations. While we are planning to launch a new annual competition in the future, we also invite to stay tuned for follow-ups on how participants on the 2009/10 competition will manage to make their solutions come true.