innovation challenge

Innovation Challenge

NW 2015-trench-innovation hydrogen fuel signIn 2017 the Innovation team will be trialling a ‘Challenge’ format alongside the standard innovation grants. The community will be asked to spend a month coming up with ideas that fit the innovation brief, working together to produce a plan and bringing together a team. Innovation will provide example plans, sharing tools, and help with discussion.

Then we will pick 3 ideas with the most potential and the Nowhere community will pick their favourite from these. This idea will get 1,500 €, and anyone who wants to (including those who had other ideas originally) can then join the team to make it happen. From then on, it will proceed just like any other grant – but we’ll assess it at the end and see if the challenge format helped.

Why have a challenge?

We hope that by doing things this way…

  • People can develop their ideas together and with the input of others
  • Projects will become more mature, bigger and better planned
  • More planning will make life easier for people working on projects!
  • People with skills can connect, making a bigger team to spread the work and allow the project to continue if someone has a problem (life happens).
  • The wider Nowhere community can get involved in the process of giving out funding
  • The project will match the choices of the community

 

What are the conditions of the challenge?

We want our people to think BIG and make great things, so we are limiting you as little as possible. We have just 3 conditions:

  1. Solve a problem! Make things better than they were before. We’ve given some suggestions of problems but if you can spot one that we haven’t, please go with it!
  2. Stay within a budget! While Nowhere is no-commerce, the rest of the world isn’t, so sadly if you can’t afford it, win it or get people to give it to you, it can’t happen. We agree that this sucks and will be starting a post-scarcity society forthwith.
  3. Make the solution available to others! You must document your solution (with plans, descriptions, or in other ways appropriate to the idea) so other people can replicate it. We can help with suggesting how to do this and how it can be made available.

 

Can you suggest some problems?

Sure! Here are just a few:

  • Power – could we use less of it? Could we use more renewable?
  • Waste – can we make less? Could we do something with it?
  • Leave No Trace – how can we have less impact, in emissions, waste, recycling… could we leave the site better than we found it??
  • Toilets – could they be more eco friendly or comfortable?
  • Ice – can we keep it longer?
  • Lighting – could the site be safer to navigate, or the lighting use less power?
  • Mosquitos – can we reduce the mosquito population?
  • Water treatment – can we process our grey water and use less?
  • Transport – can we impact the environment less by getting materials to site? Can we get ourselves there more efficiently?
  • Save money – have more money for art!
  • Accessibility – can Nowhere be better for non-neurotypical people, or people with physical access issues?
  • Construction and takedown – could strike be less stressful, or build easier?

…Or anything else!

Solutions will need to fit with the terms of our permit and what’s possible based on things already happening on site. But let’s start by proposing some ideas first and then try and make them happen.

How can I participate in the challenge?

There are lots of tools and places for discussing ideas: here are the ones we’ve set up.

If you have a suggestion for other things we should have, please let us know!

We will also cross-post between the discussion methods and pass on names and contacts so that people who prefer old-school pen and paper don’t miss out on connections with folk who are hammering away at their online planning tools.

What help will the Innovation team provide?

The Innovation Team will:

  • Show examples of cool things that have been done as inspiration
  • Show an example project timeline
  • Provide an example of a project team
  • Provide suggestions for how documentation can be done (Instructables, videos, blueprints)
  • Provide a place for preserving records of innovation projects
  • Connect people together
  • Help with transport
  • Help with skills
  • Help with safety
  • Help with community contacts and legislation
  • Help with staying in the spirit of the event
  • Offer our ideas and thoughts
  • Provide soothing words and pep talks
  • Offer innovation volunteers to help on site

 

How will the Innovation Challenge winner be chosen?

Finalists will be chosen by a committee of Innovators and Artists who have been to Nowhere at least once, considering aspects such as inclusivity, community impact, safety, simplicity, and real problem solving.

To select a winner, we will have a poll where every member of the community can express their preferences and select the winning project.

How will the success of the Innovation Challenge be evaluated?

A committee will compare the success of the largest project of 2017 (across its whole life cycle, including documentation) to the largest projects of previous years. We’ll decide, based on points like completion, documentation, community impact and potential future work, if the Challenge format should continue and grow, or how it should change.