Helsinki Challenge is a science-based idea competition and an accelerator program. The competition was first organized by the University of Helsinki in 2015 to celebrate the university’s 375th anniversary. In 2017 10 Finnish universities joined forces to organize the competition again in the context of the 100th anniversary year of Finnish independence. In the competition 20 teams, consisting of researchers and non-academic partners, co-create and co-develop their science based solutions with e.g. mentors, experts, decision makers and alumni. The solutions have to address a truly global challenge and connect with the Sustainable Development Goals by the UN.
Demos Helsinki was responsible for designing and co-producing the Helsinki Challenge competition and accelerator. From the early ideation stage in 2014 Demos facilitated the co-creation of the concept of Helsinki Challenge and researched the challenge prize methodology and benchmarked case examples. Later the same year the University of Helsinki commissioned Demos Helsinki to become the official co-creation partner of Helsinki Challenge. The work included the conceptualization and detailed design of the accelerator, the design and implementation of Impact camp, connecting national and international experts with the teams and providing concepts for co-creation between them. Moreover Demos Helsinki documented and modelled the accelerator for later use.
In the second round 2016-2017 the previously developed model was adopted. The biggest change compared to the first round was that this time it would be 10 Finnish universities joining together to make Helsinki Challenge possible. In the late 2016 166 page Helsinki Challenge Team Guide (work book) was designed. It is by far the first work book designed for research teams trying to a) co-create science based solutions b) maximize impact and c) find ways to work better as a team, engage with stakeholders and communicate better. In the second round Demos was responsible for the same areas but the working method was slighly more coaching rather than producing.