DOIT Social Innovation Idea Challenge
Are you between 6 and 16 years old? And do you have an idea that could make the world a little bit better? Then we want to hear it!
Think about the things that matter to you and that you might be worried about. Whether it is environmental, health, accessibility, safety or other issues, there are many things affect your life and lives of other people around the world.
We want you to find a particular problem and think of a possible practical solution or improvement that could be created. It could be an electronic gadget, an object, a large structure... Be creative and think like a social innovator and maker! You can work on your own or in a small team of two, and send up to two ideas.
Between 15 May and 30 June 2019, you will be able to send us your sketch and a little description in English of what it is and how, if built, it could help with a particular problem. We will share these on our website online, so that others can see them too. Our jury will select the ideas they like the best and give feedback on each at the end of June. Some of the young social innovators will then get the chance to work with an experienced mentor over three months to make their idea even better and explore it in more detail. In October, we will look at your final proposals. How far will you come? But remember, this is about challenging yourself too – use your creativity and see how good a social innovator you might be!
Check the details below!
What is this all about?
We would love to see your ideas for things that could help solve or make better a problem or a challenge, from ecological problems to helping disadvantaged people or making difficult tasks easier. You can send one, two or three ideas any time, with the very last day to send your idea on Sunday 30 June.
Don't worry if you've never done anything similar or think that your idea won't be as good as others'. Believe in yourself and what you can come up with. Maybe it will be a brilliant idea! And in any case, you've got nothing to lose. :)
Who can take part?
Children and young people aged 6–16 who live in Europe can enter, as individuals or as small teams of up to three.
You have to be no older than 16 and no younger than 6 on the day of your submission to enter, and be living in a European country.
We will have two age categories: one for those of you aged 6–10 and one for 11–16. For small teams, it is about your average age.
You need to ideally speak some English, to understand what DOIT Challenge is about and to prepare some text to send us (this is explained later), though you can get someone else to help you write it. If your idea gets shortlisted as one of the few we liked the most, we will offer you the chance to work online with a mentor to work on your idea a bit more, and for this you would need to be able to communicate with them in English, as they might not speak your other language(s). (However, if you cannot get anybody's help with translating your idea description into English and you only want to take part in the first round, you could also send the text to us in another language, if you are from a country where DOIT runs its regional pilots, and we will make sure someone looks at it.)
What should you send us and how?
We simply want to see how you think your idea might work and why it's a good one.
We want you to send us:
- a picture (such as a quick drawing showing what the object might look like, or a photo of a simple first prototype you have already created)
- short answers to these questions:
Your nickname (as 1 person or a team of 2 or 3 people) (don't simply use your real name(s) but instead think of a cool nickname you like – EcoGirl, The Maker Wizards, Alex the Great, SuperTina – anything that you think fits you):
Your age group (if you are a team of 2 or 3, your average age or how old most of you are): 6–10 / 11–16 [choose one]
Title of your idea (invention, gadget, object or set of objects...):
What is the topic or the problem that your idea is about? [no more than 200 words, please]
How could your idea help if it were produced and used? How would it work? [no more than 350 words, please]
While working on your idea, did you use any of the tools in DOIT Toolbox or did you get inspired by any of the success stories or videos of young people that we shared? If yes, which ones, for example?
Each participant (individual or team) can send one, two or no more than three separate ideas.
You can send this by email from your own email account if you have one, or you could ask your parent, older sibling, teacher or another person that you see often, as long as they are happy to then let you know if we write back to you – such as if your ideas is among our favourite ones!
Please, send your idea(s) to our email address challenge [at] doit-europe.net. Put all text in the body of the email (copy the questions into the email and add your answers), and the picture can be attached (as .jpg or .png file, not larger than 5 MB, with the name of your idea used as the name of the picture).* If you want to send more than one idea, please, send each in a separate email.
What kind of problems should you focus on?
Think about things that matter to you, that affect your everyday life or that of other people you are concerned about, things that could be improved. It should be a problem or a topic that affects not only you or a very small number of people but also others in your town, your country or around Europe. However, your proposed solution does not have to try to solve a big global problem – it can also be a small thing making lives of a group of people just a little bit better or easier. Innovation and progress is not just about a few very big ideas but also about thousands of small ones, helping with one problem at a time, making their own little contribution to a positive change.
To get some inspiration, just look around you, talk to your friends, relatives or teachers and have a think about what you think could be better and an invention could help with. You could also think about basic human rights, children's rights, the Sustainable Development Goals or others agreed as important global topics that you might have discussed at school, but remember to try to keep your goal and proposed solution realistic.
We would recommend you think about examples for the following:
1. What would help me and other people protect the environment and the Earth and live in a more sustainable, eco-friendly way?
2. How could we make it easier for children and young people to live a healthier life (both physical and mental health)?
3. What practical solutions could help in children and young people's everyday lives in areas such as education and learning, play and free time offline and online, friendships, family, safety in their neighbourhoods and towns, equal treatment and opportunities despite being different, or others?
Where can I find some inspiration?
Check out our DOIT Toolbox for a lot of tips and activities you could use in different situations! We also have videos on our YouTube channel that you might find interesting, such as other children and teenagers explaining their ideas. And we have prepared a lot of success stories of young social innovators – maybe even younger than you! – to inspire you about what you could achieve, and not just in this Challenge.
DOIT Challenge Jury will go through the ideas submitted and share short feedback on those that end up among their favourites. Some of the jury members are introduced below.
Antoaneta Pophlebarova is a never-ending enthusiast to motivate young people to embrace diversity, the power of creativity and social activism and develop social entrepreneurship skills from a very young age. English teacher by profession and youth worker by inspiration, she founded three active enterprises that have been a transformative source in her community in Bulgaria for more than two decades now: Vista Language School, BalkanKids Foundation youth NGO and The Dolphins – PTPI volunteer non-formal group (part of People to People International). Vista teaches English to youngsters and adults using creative methodologies. BalkanKids Foundation is partnering with two foster homes and daily centers for mentally and physically challenged young people and provides non-formal and active citizenship education by engaging international volunteers. The Dolphins are very active charity fundraisers, having raised more than 50 000 EUR for hospitals and vulnerable children just by handcraft products campaigns.
In her free time, Antoaneta travels a lot. Her passion is Asia. She was invited to teach Forum Theatre methods there for two years in a row. She is also passionate about handcraft and upcycling. She creates bags out of old clothes or jewellery out of reusables and sells them for charity.
Borko Jovanovic – Helping entrepreneurs and companies get access to infrastructure, people, financing and valuable advice. Founder of POLYHEDRA fab lab and member of various organizations focusing on exposing digital fabrication to young children and entrepreneurs. With advanced degrees in Computer Science and Business Administration, Borko brings over 20 years of professional experience leading companies through various stages of development focusing on early stage entrepreneurship. As ESIL local leader for Serbia, he is involved in strategic guidance with many regional startups.
Who could you be working with over the summer? Say hello to some of the DOIT Challenge Mentors who would love to get to know you and help you on your fun journey to challenge yourself and create something amazing!
John di Stefano is a passionate entrepreneur who loves the freedom to create his own future. In 2014, he formed the Entrepreneur Academy in Brussels, Belgium with the aim of providing a dynamic platform for entrepreneurs to grow, learn and practise, and serves as Senior Business Coach. He is involved in many student organisations and has extensive experience of offering entrepreneurial mentoring to teenagers and youth from around the world. When he is not generating new ideas and working on his own projects, he helps companies and individuals of all ages to get 'unstuck' and explore new sources of opportunity. His mission is changing people's lives for the better by supporting them in creating a life through which they can help others.
Over the years, working with teenagers and students in several European countries, John's approach has always been to tickle the curiosity. Curious young people want to learn, explore and step-out into the unknown. This is what entrepreneurship is all about.
Rozina Spinnoy is a Design Strategist and Social Entrepreneur running her own NGO and SMEs working across Europe and beyond. Wearing several hats and using her innovation and design management skills across a variety of sectors from Education, Equality, Inclusion, Women's issues, Mental Health, Urban Place-making and Civic Participation. An active volunteer and Board member for community organizations, including youth sports and neuro-diversity. Championing the value of inclusive education and 'designing' inclusive communities with BIDs Belgium and Belgium Design Council. Along with the entrepreneurial and digital inclusion project Analogue to Digital, with STEAM and social impact amongst other projects. Actively networking, with attending and participating in many of the European and global conferences across various sectors and fields from design to the urbanization of our cities.
Rozina has an enthusiasm and vigor for work, life, family, building relationships. Gaining immense satisfaction with watching people and in particular youth flourish when design and creativity 'touches' their lives. Not afraid to tackle challenging and complex problems, including challenging political systems and traditions.
Natàlia Pujades Piera
Summary for parents, teachers, facilitators, etc.:
DOIT Social Innovation Idea Challenge is an online activity that encourages children and young people aged 6–16 from across Europe to submit ideas for practical solutions to problems that matter to them.
Children and young people can submit their idea as a picture (e.g. a quick drawing of what the object would look like or a photo of a first prototype they have already built) and a short explanation in English. (If they do not speak English well, a friend or an adult could help them with the writing or translate the text for them. If it is impossible to help the young participant with translation into English, we will also accept text in national languages of any of the DOIT partner countries.)
Each participant (individual or a small team of up to three people) can submit up to three ideas. These will all be displayed on our website.
Participants can focus on any societal problems they are interested in, such as:
What would help me and other people protect the environment and the Earth and live in a more sustainable, eco-friendly way?
How could we make it easier for children and young people to live a healthier life (both physical and mental health)?
What practical solutions could help in children and young people's everyday lives in areas such as education and learning, play and free time offline and online, friendships, family, safety in their towns, equal treatment and opportunities despite being different, or others?
Deadline: Sunday 30 June 2019 (end of day)
Send by email to: challenge [at] doit-europe.net (submitted by the young participant directly or by their family member, facilitator they work with or similar)
What to send us:
in the body of the email:
the child's/team's chosen nickname
their age group (6–10 or 11–16)
the title of their idea
what topic or problem it addresses, and
how it would work and help with the chosen problem (a very short explanation of no more than 350 words)
attach the picture
Our jury will look at all the ideas submitted and give short feedback to all those long-listed and shortlisted. We will share the feedback and inform the participants by email. Authors of the shortlisted ideas can also choose to take part in the second round, in which they would be matched with an experienced online mentor that would help them work on their idea further over the summer.
We hope that through this fun activity, children challenge themselves to use their creativity to think of ways young people can make a difference. They might also find inspiration in the DOIT Toolbox, with many useful tips and activities for all ages, or by checking out DOIT's success stories of young social innovators and the videos on our YouTube channel.
We are looking forward to all the great ideas!
More information can be found on our website: https://www.doit-europe.net/challenge
We hope that you can help us share this opportunity with children and young people you know, and if you are a teacher, an educator, a facilitator or a youth worker, maybe you might wish to involve your class/group and give them space, encouragement and support. As many children and teens will not have their own email address, any adults they trust, such as their parent/carer, teacher or similar, can submit entries on behalf of one or more children and young people.* This will then be the email address we will use to inform long-listed and shortlisted participants after the first round.
Feel free to contact us if you would like to see how you could get involved!
Download a larger version of the poster and display it in your class or similar: DOIT Challenge poster [pdf]
* By submitting your entry to this email address, you agree for us to store your email address and information provided and to share these with partners involved closely in organising the DOIT Challenge as well as with jurors (all information apart from email address) and mentors, if taking part in the 2nd round, and for the purposes of the DOIT Challenge only, and for us to contact you on this email address with updates or other necessary communication about the DOIT Challenge in respect to the entries submitted. Furthermore, you agree that the image, the individual's/team's chosen nickname and the text provided (some or all excluding exact age) will be published on the DOIT website on a dedicated page along with all other entries that meet the conditions, until the end of the DOIT Challenge (October 2019) or longer; you may however withdraw your agreement at any point by informing us via the same email address.
Other initiatives you might like
If you like inventing, coming up with ideas to solve problems, or maybe have an idea for a social enterprise or startup or are already running one, below is a selection of the various initiatives you might find interesting:
Little Inventors (ages 5–12)
Children can access inspiring resources and share their invention ideas on the platform, get feedback and possibly see their ideas brought to life by being animated or even made into reality by experienced makers.
World Robot Olympiad (ages 6–25)
A global competition for small teams who need to design, build and program a robot model that is capable to perform a challenge, play soccer or demonstrate a solution for a real-life problem, in 4 categories.
Social Innovation Relay (15–18)
A competition that challenges secondary school students from selected countries around the world to develop an innovative business concept that addresses a social need.
European Youth Award (under 33)
A Europe-wide contest to motivate young people, social entrepreneurs, and start-ups to produce digital projects having an impact on society.
Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition (15–35)
A global competition for young people who have an innovative idea for an enterprise which contributes to one or more of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (category Best Ideas) or are operating such an enterprise (category Best Projects).
European Social Innovation Competition (young people encouraged)
A challenge for any legal entity or individual or a group of these for the most innovative projects solving problems affecting our society, with a set theme each year.
StartUp Europe Awards (existing startups)
An initiative for startups that fosters open innovation and collaboration, with a large number of topical categories.
Social Innovation Tournament (older students and adults)
For social entrepreneurs, including young entrepreneurs and enterprises and student teams, whose primary purpose is to generate a social, ethical or environmental impact, to submit innovative ideas or already implemented innovative solutions.