How to Apply to a Challenge

Not sure how to apply? Below are helpful tips and tutorials to get you started.

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Do you have a solution to a global problem? Apply to Solve's Global Challenges, which are open to anyone, anywhere in the world between February and March each year. 

Finalists will be invited to pitch their solutions to a diverse panel of cross-sector judges, the Challenge Leadership Group. Selected teams will be announced at Solve Challenge Finals in September. These teams will be granted portions of available funding and take part in the nine-month Solver program, which includes coaching, mentorship, and networking opportunities to scale their solutions. 

Not sure how to apply? Below are helpful tips to get you started. 

Log in or create an account at solve.mit.edu/login and enter the required information to submit a solution to one of our Challenges. There are some questions on the “Select A Challenge” and “Solution Overview” pages that are required in order to submit your solution. 

You can SAVE your application in two ways:

  • Click CONTINUE to save your work and move to the next page, if you would like to keep working on your application.

  • Click SAVE DRAFT & EXIT to save your work and exit the application for now, if you prefer to keep working later.

  • Applications that are saved but not submitted before the deadline will not be considered.

You can SUBMIT your application by clicking SUBMIT SOLUTION.

  • You must complete the required questions on the Solution Overview page in order to submit.

  • Submit as soon as you are ready. We recommend submitting as soon as you have completed the required questions. You may log back in to edit your application at any time before the deadline.

  • You must submit before the deadline for your submission to be considered.

  • Clicking SUBMIT SOLUTION will make your application publicly viewable on Solve’s website.

You can EDIT your application by logging back in and clicking EDIT YOUR SOLUTION in your Dashboard Home.

  • You can edit your application as often as you would like before the deadline.

  • Each time you edit, be sure to save your application so you don’t lose your changes.

  • Click SAVE SOLUTION & EXIT to save your changes to your publicly viewable application.

Tips for completing the application 

Once you decide you would like to apply, begin your application as soon as you can. In post-application surveys, most applicants reported that they spent several hours completing the application. Be sure to budget enough time to submit your application before the deadline.

Keep in mind that all answers you submit are visible to the public unless they are denoted as “For Solve Use Only.” We hope that you are able to learn from and connect with other applicants through our platform! Please only share information in your application that you are comfortable publicly sharing.

Only some of the questions in the application are required, and they all appear in the Solution Overview section. You must answer all the required questions in order to submit your application. But we strongly encourage you to complete the optional questions, too – applicants who answer most or all of the questions are more likely to be selected.

Your solution is not saved OR submitted automatically! Follow the directions below to make sure you don’t lose your work. If you have an unstable internet connection, you may wish to use this list of application questions to work offline, then copy-paste your answers into the application.

Support with your Application 

Even if you don’t already have a business and impact plan for your solution, that’s okay -- the application will take you through core questions with resources to help. Look for links to resources in the questions’ help text.

Solve staff will be available to answer questions about the Challenges and the application at several online application clinics during the application period. You can get more information and register on Solve’s Events page.

You may also consider taking Solve’s online MITx course Business and Impact Planning for Social Enterprises. The course is designed to introduce core business model and impact planning concepts and to help you write strong responses to some of the more complex questions in this application. The course is self-paced. We estimate that it will take about 25 hours to complete the material.

How to Add Team Members to Your Application

Adding Team Members to your application allows multiple users to edit your application and enables you to collaborate on your responses. To add Team Members, open your Dashboard and go to “Edit Your Solution.” At the bottom of your application, click the “Add a team member” button.

If a Team Member already has a Solve user account, search for them here and send them an invitation to join your application team. If they do not have an account, type in their email address and send them an invitation to create an account and join your application as a Team Member.

Once you have added your Team Members, choose your Team Lead. The Team Lead will be the only user who can add or remove users from the application. 

The person you identify as Team Lead should be the CEO or Executive Director of the solution organization (or, in some special cases, the Team Lead may be another member of the executive team). They should be the person who is responsible for the strategic direction of the solution. If your solution is selected as a Finalist, this person will be expected to pitch the solution at Solve Challenge Finals, and if selected as a Solver, they will be the lead participant in the Solver program.

To select your Team Lead, click the “Make Leader” button above the user’s photo.


How does Solve's platform work?

Solve’s award-winning open innovation platform was designed based on 10 years of research conducted by the Climate CoLab, a project of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, which studies how people and computers can be connected so that collectively, they can act more intelligently than any one person, group, or computer has ever done before.   

Anyone, anywhere in the world can submit a solution to open innovation Challenges hosted on Solve’s platform. All submitted solutions will appear publicly on our open innovation platform.

Users may also comment and vote on published solutions, which are visible on Solve's website. All judging is completed inside the platform, with solutions assigned to specific judges to review and evaluate. Applications are not formally reviewed by the MIT Solve team or judges until after the application deadline.



Photo: Solver Abhilasha Purwar pitches her solution Blue Sky Analytics to the judges in Solve's Healthy Cities Challenge. (Joe Jenkins / MIT Solve)

 
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