Social Impact Challenges

A Social Impact Challenge is typically a competition where University students are challenged to create innovative ideas for sustainable projects that will produce a positive impact on the well-being of communities, families, or individuals.

Best used for

Planning new learning activities. Incentivising learning and social impact.

In the context of Digital Social Impact courses and learning activities

Social Impact Student Challenge/Competition can also provide an opportunity for extra PR and marketing and a mechanism to create a wider social impact for example by crowdfunding/fundraising for social impact projects

Main Target Group

Lecturers and Students, Communities, charities or individuals present challenges to be solved

Potential tools for digitising this activity

Many of these kind of challenges are run through online platforms and portals

Step by Step

1 Discover and define your challenge and your prize. Focus the challenge on a topic where fresh thinking is needed. Consider a topic that is close to your students hearts. Think about the impact that is needed and what type of solutions your students could come up with based on the education they have received to date. Here are some key questions to consider at this step:

  • what would help achieve the change that is needed?
  • do the students have the knowledge/skills needed to engage with the challenge?
  • Is the challenge prize the right approach?
  • should there be one or more challenges?

2 Consider how your challenge will work. Come up with clear and straightforward criteria. Consider how best to design the challenge and how you or others will support them during the prize.  As part of this  step your should consider the problem definition/s, the challenge statement and  judging criteria. 

Here are some key question/s to consider at this step: 

  • do I/the students have the resources (budget, time, networks) to effectively delivery this prize?
  • who will judge the prize? Academics or the challenge owners?

3 Launch your social impact challenge, ensuring the clear and simple guidelines and criteria previously set out are followed.

4 Review and evaluate the success of your social impact challenge with relevant stakeholders, other educators involved if nay and the students. Round tables and discussions to peer review all of the proposed solutions provides further learning opportunities.