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Find Promising Solutions in Your Community: Host a Solveathon!

Interested in hosting a Solveathon? Fill out this brief form.

On February 25, MIT Solve will launch its next round of Global Challenges. Tackling these complex issues will require diverse skill sets and backgrounds. In some communities, people have already developed solutions out of necessity. In others, creative, passionate people are ready to roll up their sleeves and build new ones.

Join the movement. Now through June 2020, we invite you to apply to host a Solveathon to help your community create, refine, and submit impactful solutions to Solve’s Challenges. Please note that you must apply and be approved by the Solve team in order to host a Solveathon.

What is a Solveathon?

A Solveathon is a facilitated design-thinking workshop to generate and refine solutions, whether from scratch or from existing startups. Each Solveathon has a flexible format rooted in human-centered design. It’s a space to form and reshape ideas, evaluate and iterate on designs, experiment and collaborate, and make new friends and professional contacts.

In 2018, for example, solution applications to our Global Challenges came from 110 countries, and many of these solutions were sourced from 24 Solveathon workshops in 17 cities around the world. Now we’re looking to generate and find more of the best ideas and innovations from around the world to solve this year’s Challenges, and we invite you to help us discover them.

Examples of Solveathon Workshops

You can apply to host a Solveathon in different environments and with a diverse range of participants, for example:

  • A session at a conference, helping existing local businesses apply their innovations to any (or all) of our four Challenges
  • A half-day workshop with local citizens, engineers, and city planners to design new solutions to a local problem related to our Challenges
  • An office-wide volunteer day, in which the entire company collaborates on our Challenges, bringing in both experts and local community leaders

What do I need to host?

Any organization can volunteer to host a Solveathon, regardless of location, demographics, or internet connection. Solve’s open innovation platform will accept submissions until June 18, 2020. Solveathon workshops expand our reach, helping us find phenomenal people whose ideas might not otherwise become widely available.

You’ll need:

  • A room where 25 to 100 participants can work in small groups, sketch out or build models of what you’re developing, and present the final ideas.

  • Facilitators to keep participants on track and keep the room active. Facilitators help maximize creativity and get groups unstuck.
  • Subject matter experts for the selected Challenge(s)—these can be local professors, on-the-ground experts, or people in between.
  • Food and materials throughout the day. People run on snacks (and coffee), and ideas are workshopped with sticky notes, easel pads, and markers.
  • Content, schedule, and best practices from Solve. We do this part for you! We’ll provide a toolkit and digital training that covers different event lengths, audiences, facilitator tips and tricks, and much more.

How do I sign up?

A Solveathon is free to host and must be free to attend. We encourage hosts from anywhere in the world to apply: there are great ideas everywhere, and Solve’s mission is to find them, make them visible, and get them the resources they need to have an (even bigger) impact.

If you would like to host a Solveathon, please fill out this form. Or if you would like to have a Solve staff member facilitate a Solveathon with you, please reach out here.


Participants workshop new solution ideas at Solve at MIT in May 2018. (Photo: Adam Schultz / MIT Solve)

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