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Speeding up innovation where it’s needed most

15 March 2018
Group discussion in front of wall covered with post it notes.

Kate AdamsGuest blog from Kate Adams, Director of Operations and Special Projects, Challenge Prize Centre.

Over the last few years, Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre has worked with Essex County Council to explore how the Council can use challenge prizes to deliver its goals. This is part of their wider efforts to embed innovation across their services.

At the Challenge Prize Centre, we believe we can improve society by using ‘challenges’ to drive innovation. We’re a not-for-profit, so we don’t have a vested interest, we simply want to stimulate progress. We know that innovation competitions excite and engage the broadest community of problem solvers, creating solutions that are better quality, sustainable and impactful, pushing frontiers and advancing society.

Why challenge prizes are good tools

We want to raise the profile of how challenge prizes can make change happen and when they are (and are not) a great tool to use. People don’t often wake up in the morning and think ‘I need a challenge prize to solve my problem’ but increasingly, due to the rapid rise of technology and a globally connected world, challenge prizes have become a useful tool to motivate problem solvers to focus on solutions. It’s not all about the prize money at the end, it’s about motivating people to get involved, incentivising progress and bringing people who have the capability to create solutions with us, helping them fulfil their potential and make exciting things happen.

Challenge Dementia is a national search for products, technologies and services that could transform the way people live with Dementia across the UK. The Challenge is seeking to engage the ‘unusual suspects’, looking beyond the health and social care sector for entrants from individuals, groups, organisations and businesses. Casting the net across a range of audiences, we are looking for entries from people who can look at the issue through a different lens and disrupt the status quo. Challenge Dementia is open for entries now, closing at 12 noon on 13 April 2018. Ten finalists will each receive £5000 and a range of support. The winner will be announced in December 2018.

3 reasons to take part in a challenge prize

  1. Validate and develop your idea

    Got a great idea? A challenge prize is a good way to validate it - by taking part you can get important feedback on your idea. Throughout the Challenge Dementia prize process, you’ll receive feedback from the experts, including Alzheimer’s Society, PA Consulting, TechUK and University of Essex, all of whom will provide finalists with up to six months of tailored advice and support as they develop, test and iterate their ideas from an initial concept through to a fully-fledged business case.

    Taking part in a challenge prize also offers you the opportunity to reach those people that help you develop your idea, whether that’s users or experts. Working with people with Dementia is a core element of Challenge Dementia, and as a finalist, you will have the opportunity to test and develop your idea to ensure that it meets their wants and needs.
  2. Networking and raising your profile

    Taking part in a challenge prize is a unique opportunity to work closely with not only experts, but also other people working in your space. This chance to work with and learn from others will help you shape and develop your idea further. Being a recognised finalist, or winner, of a prize also gives you great exposure to key marketing opportunities and something to shout about externally, and working with the prize partners is a great way to share your idea more widely.
  3. Make a difference

    Your idea could change the lives of people living with Dementia across the UK. Challenge Dementia can help you make your idea a reality.

Whatever your reason, if you’ve got a great idea for a product, technology or services that could transform the way people live with Dementia across the UK, then we want to hear from you! Enter by 12 noon on 13 April 2018.