Organizing the first edition of the Unusual Solutions Competition was an insightful experience for us. We would like to thank Omidyar Network and Placefund for their support and for motivating us to share what we learned openly. The competition itself created several impactful outcomes including 9 funded prototypes and one winning solution selected for implementation across 6 countries, new collaborations and connections between and for all participants, etc. In addition, the competition gave everyone the opportunity to learn how best to co-create such an event with and for local experts in the Global South.
Through all of our programs and activities at WeRobotics, we know firsthand that knowledge is power, and that sharing is caring. So we’re always grateful when other organizations and individuals share their learnings openly, so others can build on their experience.
We want to share with you our most important learnings from organizing the Unusual Solutions Competition over the last year in this summary report. The learnings in this report are not theoretical but come from direct lessons-learned, successes, and mistakes—a result of tending to hundreds of details, all the while never losing sight of the big picture.
While many of our learnings apply to any person, group, organization, or consortium organizing a social technology competition or challenge, we hope that it will be particularly helpful to any activity with a strong geographic focus on the Global South.