Frequently Asked Questions


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    The Paradigm Challenge is an annual competition that inspires youth aged 4 to 18 to affect positive change in the world.

  • Who created The Challenge?

    Project Paradigm, a private foundation headquartered in Los Angeles, California. 

  • Is the Challenge an annual competition?

    Yes.  Each year, The Challenge will address a different problem.

  • What is the topic of next year’s Challenge?

    We love that you are thinking about next year already, but the topic will remain a secret for now.  We will announce the topic for the third Challenge sometime in the summer of 2017.  If you have any ideas that you would like us to consider for future Challenges, please contact us.

  • Can I get community service credit?

    We think helping to reduce waste is a great community service project.  We have heard that many teachers agree and plan to use The Challenge as a classroom community service project.  Please talk to your own teacher about The Challenge.  You or your teacher can contact us with any questions.  

  • What ages are eligible to participate in The Challenge?

     Participants must be aged 4 to 18 as of May 1, 2017.

  • Is The Challenge open to youth outside of the United States?

    Currently, the Challenge and The Public Voting Contests are open to all youth age 4 to 18 who are NOT residents of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, the Crimea Region, or any other United States sanctioned country.

  • Can my team collaborate with adults?

    We love collaboration and the goal is to come up with new ideas to reduce waste.   If you need help along the way, you are free to collaborate with anyone you wish.  That said, we designed this as a youth challenge because we believe in the power of youth to help solve this important social problem.  

  • How many can be on a team/CAN I PARTICIPATE ON MY OWN?

    This is entirely up to you and your team.  There is no minimum or maximum team size. While we encourage each participant to join a team and collaborate with other youth, single person teams are permitted.

  • How do I build or join a team?

    After you sign up for the Challenge, visit MY DASHBOARD and click the BUILD button.  This will take you to the BUILD & MANAGE A TEAM page and you can enter the first name, last initial, and email address of who you want to invite to join your team.

  • What do I do if my teammate does not receive my email invitation?

    If you entered a friend’s name and email address on the BUILD & MANAGE A TEAM page and he or she did not receive an invitation email, please ask your friend to check his or her email spam folder.  Sometimes, the email invitations get stuck in there.  Even if your friend cannot find the email invitation, your friend’s name should still show up as a pending invitation.  All confirmed and pending teammates will be automatically included on your entry form when you are ready to submit your idea.  If you any of your team members are not automatically listed at the top of the entry form, you will have an opportunity to add team members when you fill out the entry form.   

  • Can I remove a team member?

    Yes, if the team leader submits a request and the team member approves the request.  The team leader can visit the BUILD & MANAGE A TEAM page and then click the pencil next to the team member’s name.  Click edit and then click delete.  We will then send an email to the team member.  If the team member approves the deletion, the team member will be removed from the team.  If the team member does not approve the deletion, the team member will stay on the team.  

  • Can I be a member of more than one team?


  • What kind of ideas can we submit?

    Anything that might help.  We expect that participants will submit all kinds of ideas, including posters, videos, inventions, public messages, community events, websites, and mobile apps, but there are no limitations.  Use your imagination.  

  • How do we come up with ideas?

    Watch our video on “How to Solve Problems and Change the World” to learn six steps to solve any challenge.  If you and your team follow the six steps in the video, we are confident that you will start to come up with ideas.  

  • What do we need to provide with our entry?

    Each entry must contain the following information: (1) team name (even if participating alone); (2) team member information, including each member's first name, last initial, month and year of birth, and email (if any team members are under 13 years old, the email of a parent or guardian for each member under 13 must be provided); (3) brief statement of idea (140 characters or less); (4) category of idea; (5) explanation of idea; and (6) responses to questions regarding the team’s participation in The Challenge.  Each entry may (but is not required to) include uploaded files and/or video embed codes. 


    It is up to you to decide how far to develop your idea.  We anticipate that some teams will submit just the description of an idea, some will submit a sketch or drawing, some may build a prototype, and others may make a fully working unit. It is entirely up to you.  If you make a sketch and your idea is better than a team that produces a prototype of its idea, you are likely to score higher.  On the other hand, if two teams come up with basically the same idea, the team that develops the idea further is likely to score higher.

  • Can a team submit more than one entry?


  • Is there an entry fee?


  • When is the deadline to submit an entry?

    May 1, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.  

  • Can I submit an entry before the deadline?


  • Does Project Paradigm own the ideas that are submitted?

    No.  Some innovation challenges are designed to generate ideas for corporate profit.   Not this one.  The ownership of the submitted ideas is not transferred to Project Paradigm or any of our partners.  The only rights granted to us relate to the ability to use information regarding the ideas and the teams to run and promote The Challenge and other activities of Project Paradigm and our partners.  For more details, check out the Rules.

  • What happens to the winning ideas?

    Project Paradigm wants to help winning ideas lead to reduced waste. In addition to the prize money, Project Paradigm may decide to provide additional support to one or more teams to facilitate the development and/or implementation of one or more winning ideas. Among other things, Project Paradigm may (1) provide funds for legal advice regarding potential patent, trademark, and or copyright protection, (2) attempt to make or facilitate introductions to manufacturers, organizations, and/or other persons or entities, (3) collaborate directly with team members, and/or (4) promote one or more winning ideas on the Site.

  • When will the finalists be announced?

    June 1, 2017.

  • When will the winners be announced?

    Summer 2017.

  • When will the prizes be awarded?

    Summer 2017.

  • How will entries be judged?

    Project Paradigm will select the top 100 entries (“Finalists”) based on the following criteria:

    Efficacy: how effective is the idea?

    Feasibility: how possible is the idea?

    Originality: how innovative is the idea?

    Presentation: how clear is the idea?

    Collaboration: how well did the team members work together with each other and with other persons.  For single member teams, the collaboration criteria will be based solely on collaboration with non-team members. 

    Each of the top 100 Finalists will be further reviewed (based on the same criteria) by judges designated by Sponsor.  Based on the initial and further reviews, Project Paradigm will select a First Place, Second Place, and Third Place winner in each of the three age divisions.  

  • Is the PrIZE Ceremony open to the public?

    The Paradigm Challenge Prize Ceremony is by invitation only.  If you would like to attend, please send an email to and tell us in 250 words or less why you would like to attend the Ceremony.