The Challenge Process

The Challenge Process

The WDCD Climate Action Challenge covered a period of a year: from May 2017 till May 2018. The process was divided into several phases: The call for proposals; the selection phase, the improvement phase, giving the nominees the opportunity to refine their proposal before a final round of judgement. The winners were announced on 23 November, during What Design Can Do in São Paulo, Brazil. On 24 May 2018 they showed the result of a five-month acceleration program, at the What Design Can Do conference in the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam. During this demo day the prototypes and accompanying businessplans were shown.


The call to participation is open until 24 September 2017. Students, creative professionals and start-ups can submit their proposals and a pitch video through the challenge platform. Through this website participants have access to the ‘briefing generator’ and loads of background information on climate change adaptation. They also can profit from the feedback of the WDCD community.
  A selection committee comprised of members of What Design Can Do, IKEA Foundation, Autodesk Foundation, Social Enterprise NL and various creative professionals, climate and business experts judge the entries and establish a shortlist.

The public is also allowed to vote and comment on the entries. The nominees will be announced on 21 October 2017.

  The nominees are exhibited during Dutch Design Week from 21 October to 28 October. They are then given the opportunity to improve and re-submit their proposals based on the feedback of the selection committee and the challenge community. The nominated design professionals also receive a budget of €5.000 each to invest in their presentation.

The refined proposals must be submitted before 5 November. 

   An international jury of leading experts in design, social enterprise and climate sciences & policy will judge the refined proposals by the nominees. The jury will meet face to face for a final round of judgment on 20 November 2017.


The winners from the three tracks are announced on 23 November, during WDCD São Paulo in Brazil.
  The winners, selected and valued by an international jury, share an award package worth €900,000 which includes a production budget and an acceleration program aimed at making their ideas, prototypes or start-ups market- and investment ready.

The acceleration program, which is developed in close collaboration with Social Enterprise NL, is tailor-made for each of the winners of the three tracks. This phase culminates in a demo day on 24 May during the What Design Can Do conference.

  The winning teams are connected to potential launching customers, implementation partners and investors via the extensive network of the Challenge partners: WDCD, IKEA Foundation, Autodesk Foundation and Social Enterprise NL.

The acceleration program also includes an ‘after care’ program in which the teams are supported in the first stage of their implementation or go-to market efforts.