March 15, 2011

Challenge: Future Competition 2011/12

What if fun was taken seriously? What if creativity and joy were approached with as much care as finance and physics? What if entertainment was to double-up on meaning?

Global youth think-tank and student competition Challenge: Future Competition 2011/12 dares to re-envision the Future where MEANING and POSITIVE CHANGE go hand-in-hand with FUN. What would it take to make sure there is:
- Fun@learning
- Fun@working
- Fun@volunteering
- Fun@creating
- Fun@discovering
- Fun@preserving

You have time until 24 March 2011 to register for competition, to form your team and start competing for the EUR 20.000 Award.

It is hardly any debate that the first decade of the 21st century has been a decade of change. Among the many winds and turns is the immense growth of all industries focused on fun and joy - media, theater, print, games, music, movies, phone apps, and web solutions - and well beyond. Together, these powerful forces penetrate and shape every aspect of our life. Yet, the ever-exploding list of TV channels does not always mean explosion in meaning and positive change around the world. In contrast, often, our fun is separated from meaning, and entertainment has little to do with learning, impact, and real development. Our work and learning continues to be less and less joyful, while our entertainment and free time continues to be less and less meaningful. What is our alternative?

The rapid growth of Facebook and Twitter, or the remarkable success of TED community worldwide, might just give us the first glimpse of new possibilities. Among the reasons why these (and many other) efforts succeeded far beyond all expectations is because they continue to blur the boundaries between work, learning, connecting, volunteering, and having a good time, finding a sweet spot where fun connects with meaning. It is no surprise, then, that a recent talk on the role of creativity in education by Sir Ken Robinson has circled the globe and attracted millions of views, while positive psychology and positive organizational scholarship continue to revolutionize the way we live and work. And what about Bhutan’s experiment with using Gross National Happiness Index instead of the traditional GDP?

Ours is the new era - the time for skillful blend of the best of media, creative expression, gaming, and technology - and using its power as a force for good. Now, the questions are:
- How do we harvest the power of creative expression, global media, and entertainment for the good of the world?
- What are the new products, services, platforms, organizations, networks, regulations, education programs and other solutions that can help us address the most pressing challenges of the human kind while having fun at the same time?
- What are the new ways of using existing solutions and innovations for the new level of positive impact?
To explore the theme further and prepare for the competition, make sure to check out all resources posted on this page – much of crucial information and inspiration is hidden there. The Challenge Resources section is packed with outstanding and provocative resources such as videos, articles, websites, and blog posts – hand-picked to help you as you work about this challenge theme and specific requirements.

The present is yours to challenge. The future is yours to imagine. Welcome to the Future of Fun! And so, let's play!


In the First Round of the Competition, your job is to go “out of the mind” to envision the world where FUN+MEANING2 significantly contribute to the Future that works for all. We invite you to make a decision on how broad or narrow your vision might be. You may choose to speak about the Future of Fun in very broad terms - or focus on specific idea, product, service, social innovation, policy, and beyond. But do make sure that your submission is best positioned to meet the judging criteria.

Since you are designing the future that brings real benefit to the world, connecting to others is a must: at least five interviews of complete strangers will be demanded of you, so that you can integrate visions of others into your own. (And by ‘interview’ here all we envision is asking them a few interesting questions so that you can get more ideas and insight.) Good research and great inspiration are simply mandatory: we invite you to bring a compelling, exciting, and inspiring vision of how fun can be connected to meaning.

Aside a short slide or PowerPoint presentation of your vision and description of your original idea that will bring this vision to reality, we will ask you also to outline a plan, and to get the tools, building blocks, and raw materials ready for the next big challenge – one great, nearly-impossible-to-get interview with a person of your choice who can help you make your idea a reality or who, based on your vision, might play an important role in the Future. So, tell us who do you want to interview and why? How can this person add to your own vision and bring it to the next level? How will you get to that person? What do you want to ask? Why?

As part of your team's submission for the First Round, you are required to submit :
1. Title (visible to community and expert judges)
2. A Slide presentation (PowerPoint) of maximum 5 slides, including the title page (visible to community and expert judges)
3. Abstract in maximum 1.000 characters with spaces, plain text (visible to expert judges only)
4. Description in maximum 5.000 characters with spaces, plain text (visible to expert judges only).
You are free to use your 5 PowerPoint slides whichever way you want. But in case you are wondering, here is one example of how it may look like:
• 1st slide – Introduction
• 2nd -3rd slide – Your vision as well as input from the 5 people interviewed
• 4th – 5th slide – Who do you want to interview in the Semi-Finals, why, and what questions you would like to ask
You can find more information and advices on submition in your team's project room.
From March 24, 2011 at 18:00 CET till March 30, 2011 at 18:00 CET, you will be able to make your submission – and you can even revise and re-submit it based on the comments received from the community.
Remember, You Are Judged
Your title and slide/PowerPoint presentation will be judged by the Challenge:Future community and your title, abstract, description and slide presentation - by expert panel of judges, both between March 31 and April 14, 2011. While each community member can only vote for you once via ‘like’ button, the judges will use a set of the following judging criteria:

1. ORIGINALITY, INSPIRATION, AND ATTRACTIVENESS OF THE VISION …does it have the “wow” effect, is it breakthrough and unique, is it compelling, attractive, and inspiring… (maximum score possible in this category is 30)
2. POTENTIAL FOR POSITIVE LONG-TERM IMPACT ON THE FUTURE …does the vision have far-reaching positive impact… (maximum score possible in this category is 20)
3. RELEVANCE TO THE THEME …does it reflect and directly represent the annual theme… (maximum score possible in this category is 10)
4. SUSTAINABILITY …does the vision reflect the needs of sustainability and allows for harmony between prosperity, ecology, and society, does it have potential for tremendous improvement towards global sustainable development… (maximum score possible in this category is 20)
5. QUALITY OF THE SUBMISSION …does the submission show high quality of thinking and execution, does it demonstrate the ability of the team to succeed in the later, more complex, stages of the competition… (maximum score possible in this category is 20)

For more information on selection criteria, dates, regulations, and more, make sure to check out How to Enter details. All teams that will receive the total score of 51 and higher (out of 100 points possible) by the grades from expert judges, will advance to the Semi-Finals with no limit as to how many teams can proceed. We will announce the semi-finalists on April 20, 2011.

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