The Helsinki Challenge jury process in three steps

If you have attended Helsinki Challenge Pitch Nights, you already know that the competing teams pitch to impress both the wider audience and the judges of the competition. But in order to win the jury’s heart the teams have to prove their competence on paper as well. Behind every competition entry there are hours of hard work, collaboration and co-creation.

Step 1: 20 semifinalists

Helsinki Challenge has two juries: the pre-qualification jury and the Grand jury. Both the juries consist of experts gathered from different areas of society. The members of the pre-qualification jury were Pekka Haavisto (the chair), Timo Ahopelto, Maija Itkonen, Marja Makarow and Anneli Pauli.

In the autumn 2016 a total of 110 teams applied for the competition, including 340 experts from Finnish universities and over 160 other organizations. This meant that the pre-qualification jury went through over 100 competition entries to single out the best twenty teams for the accelerator programme.

In the competition entry the applicants were asked to describe the challenge their team wanted to solve, their project’s intended collaboration and their most significant scientific achievements. All the competition entries were evaluated based on the following criteria: science-based, impact, solution-focused, creativity and originality.

”The jury’s task was challenging. We are looking forward to seeing how the solutions will develop in the future. The competition proposals are founded in research and strong scientific expertise,” commented Pekka Haavisto the jury’s task in last January.

The jury chose the following teams as semifinalists: 3A Water, Catalyst Supreme, CoLearning CoPassion, Dlearn.Helsinki, EduRemix, Energy Village 500, F-Factor, FutuRena, HeatStock, iCombine, Ioncell, Metabold, Myonit, Parental Box, POCKit, Pro Fibers, Reconfigure Mobility, Senior Cognitive Booster and Wave Farmers.

The Grand jury commented the semifinalist pitches in June 2017. Present were (left to right) Saara Hassinen, Anneli Pauli, Andreas Kaju, Victoria Betancourt and Tuija Talvitie.

Step 2: 7 finalists

The accelerator programme kicked off in January 2017. During the spring the semifinalist teams had several clinics, one co-creation boot camp and two pitching events.

The Grand jury chose the finalists in June and the same jury will choose the winner of Helsinki Challenge in November. The Grand jury members are Tuija Talvitie (the chair), Victoria Betancourt, Frank Geels, Saara Hassinen, Andreas Kaju, Anneli Pauli and Paul Quinlan.

The competition entries included the actual application, three assignments and the pitch. Before Semifinal Pitch Nights in June the judges had familiarized themselves with all the material. The jury was present at the Semifinal Pitch Nights and gathered together for an official jury meeting a few days later. The criteria was the same as in the pre-qualification stage: science-based, impact, solution-focused, creativity and originality.

“The jury found it very difficult to select the teams for the final. We examined the impact of the proposed ideas from the perspective of global changes and considered how they could develop from scientific ideas to global solutions for sustainable development,” said Tuija Talvitie.

Team FutuRena was voted for the finals by the Semifinal Pitch Night audience. Six teams were chosen for the finals by the Grand jury: ELMO, Dlearn.Helsinki, HeatStock, iCombine, Parental Box and POCKit.

Step 3: The winner

The hardest part is still ahead. In November the Grand jury will also choose the winner of the Helsinki Challenge competition. This time the jury is more familiar with the teams and can evaluate the progress the teams have made from June until now.

During the autumn the finalists have developed the global scalability of their solution and have formed an experimentation plan. These will be taken into account in the evaluation of the final competition entry alongside the final pitch at the Helsinki Challenge Award Party on November 24th in Helsinki. The Grand jury will meet for the last time at the Award Party and the winner is announced at 8 pm.

Who will win the prize of 375,000 euros? Join us on November 24th and find out! Register for the Helsinki Challenge Award Party here.