How to Compete in a Global Competition?

Reposting from the my blog at http://www.makingallvoicescount.org/.

The Global Innovation Competition is all about better citizen engagement and improved government responsiveness.

These are two simple phrases, but are extremely complex are very hard to decode in one, let alone a global context. This is the reason we need minds and people from all over the world cracking these important challenges; most especially to tackle the challenges of improving the government – citizen relationship in developing countries. If you go through the entries for the Global Innovation Competition, you will see a group of innovators who live thousands of miles apart, but are facing similar problems and proposing like-minded solutions in completely different corners of the globe.

Social and business entrepreneurs like our ten finalists have their minds and scrapbooks full of ideas all the time. Some ideas we as a jury see are at a very raw stage, whereas some have already been prototyped. The Global Innovation Competition, which combines competition with mentoring for the ten finalists, is the perfect opportunity for them to test the viability of their ideas and gain much needed input from both expert mentors and from each other.

At the same time, taking part in competitions requires a lot of time, a concerted effort, and can be stressful – especially for individuals and smaller organisations not used to standing up and pitching their ideas in a competitive space.

As a judge on this year’s Global Innovation Competition, there is some simple advice I offer the finalists, that helps to show why this competition is unique.

All participants are equal

There is no advantage to any participant for being from a specific country or continent. The marks are only based on the clarity of your idea and how you are going to solve an important problem in your target community. The spatial base doesn’t have any priority.

Run it like a 100 meter race

Only 10 finalists are selected from hundreds of entries to reach the final Global Innovation Week – running this April 13th-17th in Jakarta. If you’ve reached the final, run the race like it’s the 100-metre sprint.  Make every effort to make it count at this stage. Refine and specify your problem as much as you can, and make sure your solution looks concrete.

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Keep your mind open

Finally, there are a lot of learning opportunities at the Global Innovation Competition. Mentors, jury members and the Making All Voices Count team provide hours of dedicated help and guidance during this final week.  Listen to all the feedback carefully and take it in as much as you can.

Before the final presentation all finalists have the chance to refine your idea, and how you present it – so keep your mind open. Don’t be afraid to ask the stupid question, and remember that we as the jury are learning from you too.

Good luck!

Faisal Chohan, Global Innovation Competition 2015 Juror

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