The Climate Action Challenge is a global design competition calling on the creative community to submit bold, innovative solutions to combat the impacts of climate change.

It ran from May 2017 to May 2018 and was open to three categories of entrants: students, creative professionals and start-ups. The Climate Action Challenge was initiated by WDCD in close collaboration with its main partners IKEA Foundation and Autodesk Foundation. In September 2018 What Design Can Do will launch the second Climate Action Challenge.


In September, WDCD received 384 entries from 70 countries. Out of the 384 entries the selection committee nominated 35 projects. Subsequently, the nominees were given the opportunity to improve and re-submit their proposals based on the feedback of the selection committee and the challenge committee. An international jury of experts in design, social enterprise and climate sciences then judged the refined proposals in November. The winners – who were announced on the 23rd of November 2017 at WDCD Live in São Paulo – share an award package including an acceleration programme tailor-made by Social Enterprise NL.


Aimed at making the winning concepts and startups ready for market and investment, the five- month acceleration programme included workshops, trainings, expert consultancy, networking events, inspiring talks, visits to peer entrepreneurs and webinars. Each winner worked on the building blocks of the social business model and was guided through the programme by their own personal mentor. Consisting of two intensive bootcamps in Amsterdam, in January and March 2018 the programme also involved online sessions and the preparation for Demo Day that took place on 24 May 2018.


On the 24th of May 2018 the winners showed the result of the acceleration programme during the What Design Can Do conference in the Stadsschouwburg in Amsterdam. At demo day the prototypes and accompanying business plans were presented.






Current challenge phase

  • 1 1: Initiate
  • 2 2: Nominate
  • 3 3: Improve
  • 4 4: Triumph
  • 5 5: Accelerate
  • 6 6: Make it Happen