• Are civil servants, and employees of the Challenge sponsors allowed to submit solutions?
  • Could my solution involve a collaboration with other partners?
    Yes, as long as the submission meets the specific challenge criteria, collaborative solutions are eligible. We encourage collaborations because they are often the best way to generate new ideas and increase impact.
  • How do I submit my idea?
    You can submit your idea between November 24, 2017, 9:00 AM CST and February 22, 2018, 4:00 PM CST through the Submission Portal. 
  • How does a social enterprise work?
    A social enterprise is simply a business that has a mission to address an issue that affects people and our community. A social enterprise can have various sources of revenue depending on what it produces or delivers. How Challenge participants structure their business models regarding sustainability and growth will be part of their adjudication.
  • How long will I have to develop my solution if I am a finalist?
    Beginning March 2018, teams and individuals will have up to six months to develop their solutions.
  • How will you choose the final winner?
    Our panel of judges will base the final selection on the following criteria:
    • Affordability
    • Safety
    • Scalability
    • Sustainability
    • Usability
    • Innovation
    • Outcomes
    You can find more details about the adjudication criteria in the terms of reference for this challenge.
  • I have a question not covered here. Who can I contact?
    Email your question to us and we’ll respond within 48 hours.
  • If I have a solution that already exists as an active business is it eligible for the challenge?
    Yes, as long as the solution comes from a registered Manitoba company that has a corporate head office in the province.
  • What happens after I apply?
    Once we have received all of the submissions, judges from across the province and sectors (consisting of business owners and subject matter experts) will independently evaluate all entries based on a scoring system. From the ten top-scoring submissions our panel of judges will choose up to three finalists after further evaluation. North Forge will contact the selected finalists and assign a project team to coach the finalists on the further development of their ideas and the required final presentations they will deliver. After the final presentations, the judges will select the top three solutions for development.
  • What if I want to participate, but I don’t have an idea yet?
    No problem! You can attend an information session on November 23, 2017 from 11:30 – 1:30 a.m. at North Forge Event Centre, 100-One Research Road (SmartPark) for further details and a Q&A session. If you can’t make it in person, we will also be live streaming the event Facebook Live and will post it online for future playback. There will also be two ideation sessions on December 1, 2017 at Manitoba Education and Training1567 Dublin Avenue that you can attend. These workshops will go through a series of exercises that may help you think of a solution to address the issue.
  • What is the deadline for submitting a solution?
    February 22, 2018
  • What is the reasoning behind using an open innovation challenge to solve social issues?
    We have evidence from our own experience at North Forge and the literature that bringing together a diverse group of people from across their natural networks is a recipe for innovative solutions to problems. Hosting an open challenge is a dynamic, results-driven approach to complex issues that affect Manitobans.
  • What problem is the call to improve early childhood literacy and numeracy trying to solve?
    According to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), at age 15 Manitoba students lag behind their Canadian peers in literacy and numeracy – ranking 8th and 9th out of 10 provinces respectively. Research shows this starts very early, before age 5. Manitoba data also show that in some communities, up to 77% of kindergarteners are not ready for Grade 1 literacy and numeracy curricula.
  • What types of solutions are you hoping to get?
    We have no expectations about the kind of solutions participants will submit. The solutions could be tech-based, but not necessarily. Tech could play a role alongside other components. For every challenge, we’ll have experts on the issue, those in the North Forge innovation network that will bring their knowledge, and we hope to have individuals with firsthand experience with the issues involved. Bringing these diverse groups together will give us the tools to deliver a solution that will change the future.
  • Who is eligible to participate?
    The North Forge Open Innovation Challenge is open to all Manitoba residents over the age of 16 or registered Manitoba companies who have a corporate head office in the province.
  • Who owns the solutions put forward as part of the challenge?
    Solutions remain the property of the submitters. If appropriate, intellectual property protection should be sought prior to submission.
  • Who will fund the winning solution?
    Each open challenge will have specific partners and sponsors who will contribute financial and other supports. However, the solutions coming forward will need to demonstrate value for the money. Submissions should use a social enterprise model for their solutions with a plan for long-term sustainability.
  • Why try to solve this problem this way, wouldn’t it be better to have experts work on this?
    The key to innovation is the diversity of thought. Yes, experts have an important role to play in finding a solution, but the literature and our experience show that getting people with various educational and life backgrounds together offers a greater chance of solving any given problem.  Some of the world’s leading experts in early childhood development are urging innovation as part of a potential solution to gaps in literacy and numeracy. Manitoba also has a track record of working together to innovate on issues that matter. We can do this!
  • Will I get any help to develop my solution?
    If you become a finalist, we will make every effort to provide you with the assistance you need to develop your idea into a viable solution. Our public and private sector sponsors as well as participating post-secondary institutions will be available for support.
  • Will the finalists receive any funding to develop their solutions?
    Each finalist will receive up to $50,000 in cash and in-kind support towards the prototyping and piloting of their solutions.
  • You say Manitoba’s goal is to have 100% of children in our province school-ready before they reach kindergarten. In some communities, 77% of children are not school-ready at that age. Isn’t 100% success a lot to ask from one innovative idea?
    It is an ambitious goal, but that’s what innovation is all about. Aim high, dream big and achieve something remarkable! We know we won’t reach this goal overnight, but we owe it to our children and future generations to find a solution as soon as possible.  At the least, this innovation can provide a key part of the total solution. It might also inspire additional solutions.
  • Can I submit more than one idea?

    Absolutely! We encourage you to submit any and all ideas you may have.

  • I am professional in the field and want to submit an idea but I would like my name not to be published. Is that possible?

    Absolutely. All names are hidden from the panelists during the scoring process. If your submission is selected to move forward and you wish to remain anonymous, we will respect your wishes and find a workable solution.

  • Do I need to attach a business or financial plan?

    No. For this stage, we are only looking for great ideas. Additional material is welcomed but absolutely not required.

  • I have questions, is there help?

    Yes, North Forge is here to offer help to anyone who wants to participate and all assistance is 100% FREE of charge. You can…

    1. Email us your questions at [email protected]
    2. Email [email protected] to request an in person or phone meeting Available times: Monday evenings, Tuesday evenings and weekends
    3. Drop in with your questions. Every Wednesday from 11:30am-12:30pm North Forge Smartpark Office, 200-135 Innovation Drive
    4. We can arrange a small group session with our Process Coaches from Wawanesa. Contact [email protected] for more details.
  • I want to submit my idea but I’m not able/interested to present it or work on it further if it’s selected. If it’s selected, what will happen?

    Participants who have their idea selected for further development are able to determine what level of involvement, if any, they have from that point forward. If you’d like to remain part of the process, fantastic! If not, we at North Forge can take it from there.

  • I’ve reviewed the solution form and don’t have all the answers. Can I submit the form if it’s partially complete?

    Yes you can! We understand you may not be able to complete every section in the Solution Template – please give us as much information as possible to help our panelists understand and imagine your idea.

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