Global Ingenuity Challenge: The Challenge of Sustainable Housing

Start Date
29 February 2016
End Date
03 April 2016
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Teams of up to five students, led by an ingenuity facilitator, are invited to find an innovative solution to 'The Challenge of Sustainable Housing', using an interdisciplinary approach to solutions and analysis.

The competition challenges teams of students to come up with solutions to a real life problem, the results of which will be judged against teams from across the network to result in one overall winner.

‘Ingenuity’ is a tried and tested process for creative problem solving and radical (as opposed to incremental) innovations. As an approach to invention and solution generation it has been used very effectively by several thousand students, hundreds of SMEs and large organisations such as universities, the UK’s National Health Service, Alliance Boots and many others.

The process has as its core a three-fold structure: first defining precisely the problem to be solved, then discovering a wide range of possibilities before determining the most appropriate solution.  Students and facilitators are supported by an interactive web based platform: Ingenuity OnLine (IOL).

Participants in the 2015 Global Ingenuity Challenge appreciated the Ingenuity Online platform’s value for idea development.



Teams will be made up of no more than five students who will be given a challenge and two weeks in which to complete it.  The team's work will then need to be translated into a three-minute video presentation or pitch, which will then be entered into a network-wide competition to find what the judges deem to be the best, most ingenious solution to the challenge.

Members are encouraged to select multidisciplinary teams with students from diverse areas of the university. There is an added value of using Ingenuity OnLine for teams that are not in the same location.

A prize of US$1,000 per student in the winning team will be awarded, to be spent on participation in another U21 student activity. Students interested in being considered for a place in their university's teams should contact their International Office (or equivalent) for further information on how to apply.


Ingenuity Facilitators

Each participating university will select one ingenuity facilitator who will be the key staff for the challenge. The facilitator is responsible for the administration of the challenge, the registration of the team/s and for ensuring that teams upload their videos. They will also be the key communication contact at their institution.

Ingenuity Online (IOL) will provide impartial support to all students. Close mentoring by ingenuity facilitators is not essential but might be beneficial for the teams. 



In preparation for the challenge, ingenuity facilitators will take part in a virtual meeting with an Ingenuity Online staff member at The University of Nottingham. They will be provided with access IOL, 2 copies of the user manual and 6 sets of cards. 

The challenge will last two weeks at each participating member.  At the start of this two-week period, facilitators will share the specific challenge with the students. Students will have two weeks to work on the challenge and invite comments from trusted advisors; this will allow some incubation time for their ideas. Technical support will be provided by IOL staff team during this time. 

At the end of the 2-week period, students will upload a 3-minute video with their proposed solution to the challenge. Their video will be assessed by a judging panel as well as by their peers.

Peer’s Choice:  Students who participate in the challenge will review all videos submitted by their peers and vote for one of them (not their own, of course). The team with most votes will receive the Peers’ Choice award certificate.


At this stage, students and facilitators from all participating universities will be invited to join a virtual conversation to learn from each other and share ideas. An email distribution list will be created so all participants can write to the group. Initial questions for discussion will be presented by the IOL team. This is an optional element of the Global Ingenuity Challenge that provides the opportunity for students to reflect upon their learning, the different cultural backgrounds of the teams and the ways in which they can apply their experience during the ingenuity challenge in their future.



29 January 2016

Final date to confirm participation.  This must include the name and contact details (email address) for the ingenuity facilitator. In indication of expected number of teams at this stage would be welcome, although the final number of teams submitted need only be confirmed at the start of the challenge.

Each member university is invited to register at least one team for the 2016 Global Ingenuity Challenge. 


Please email with this information.


15 to 26 February 2016

Facilitators briefed by IOL staff at Nottingham via Skype or Adobe Connect. The briefing will be at a mutually convenient time and will take approximately 1 hour. 

29 February to 8 April 2016

Student teams will work on the chosen challenge over two working weeks during this 4-week period, the exact dates being chosen locally at a time to accommodate each member’s academic calendar. Ingenuity facilitators should confirm the final dates of participation for their team to the Ingenuity Online team at Nottingham. 

By 15 April 2016

The judging panel will choose the best solution and video pitch. The judging panel will made up of senior U21 leaders and also representatives from the business community outside of universities. The judges’ view will be final.  

9 to 15 April 2016

Students who took part in the challenge will have the chance to peer review all videos submitted to the challenge and to join a virtual conversation with other participants. 

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Announcement of winners (judges’ choice and peers’ choice)



The participation fee for the first team from each member university will be covered by U21. Additional teams are also welcome to participate at a registration fee of £175 per team. 



2015 Press release and winning video

Details of 2015 challenge with links to all videos

Ninna Makrinov, Student Experience Cluster Manager