Project Paradigm recognizes the need to spark and cultivate interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). We also seek to inspire kindness, creativity, and collaboration among all youth, regardless of what career fields they pursue. Project Paradigm created The Paradigm Challenge to promote these dual objectives.
The Paradigm Challenge is an annual competition that inspires youth innovation to address important social issues and to enhance each person’s awareness of his or her ability and responsibility to affect positive change in the world. The Challenge offers cash prizes to the top 100 teams, including up to $100,000 to the Grand Prize winner.
In the current Paradigm Challenge, youth will use STEM skills plus kindness, creativity, and collaboration to generate new ideas to reduce waste in homes, schools, communities, and/or around the world.
May 1, 2017
Deadline for entries
June 1, 2017
June 1-August 30, 2017
Final winners announced at prize ceremony
Launch of 2017-18 Challenge
Ten Steps to Complete the Challenge
1. Select an Avatar
Each participant can pick an avatar that mimics his or her creative alter ego. For privacy reasons, we do not permit participants to upload actual photographs of themselves.
2. Build or Join a Team
After choosing an avatar, the next step is to build or join a team. While there is no minimum or maximum team size, the key is collaboration.
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” —Helen Keller
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” —Henry Ford
“Great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.” —Steve Jobs
Do you know any youth who are ready to follow in the footsteps of Keller, Ford, and Jobs? To get started, youth can use the build a team tool to invite others to join a team.
3. Become a Problem Solver
Participants will watch a two-minute video to learn the six steps to solve any challenge.
- Study the problem
- Observe what others are doing to help
- List all imaginable ideas
- Visualize each idea and how it might solve the problem
- Engage others for further input on the best ideas
- Decide which idea is the best
The “SOLVED” method is appropriate for participants of all ages and will provide youth with a valuable tool to address other challenges in their lives.
4. STUDY THE DANGERS OF WASTE
The next step is to study the problem. Youth can visit the ABOUT WASTE page to learn about the causes and harms of waste around the world.
5. Observe What Others are Doing to Help
After youth study the problem of waste, the next step is to learn about current efforts to reduce waste and help the environment. The CURRENT EFFORTS page provides examples of videos, posters, websites, inventions, public messages, and community events and educational programs
6. List All Imaginable Ideas
After youth observe what other people are doing to help, the next step is to brainstorm new or improved solutions.
The LIST ALL IMAGINABLE IDEAS page includes a virtual whiteboard to track each team’s ideas. If a team member thinks of an idea on her own, she can add it and it will show up on her teammates’ white boards.
Youth of all ages can also learn how to brainstorm effectively by watching a short video of four Stanford Design Institute students think of different ways to store chewed gum.
7. Visualize Each Idea
After creating a long list of ideas, the next step is to start to think about how to identify which ideas are best.
The VISUALIZE EACH IDEA page provides tips on how to analyze whether each idea is effective, feasible, and original. To help participants get started, the page also includes links to tools to search for patents, videos, images, trademarks, apps, and more.
We will add more tips and resources throughout the Challenge. Youth are encouraged to contact us when they discover other resources and we may add them.
8. Engage with Others for Further input
After narrowing the list of creative ideas, the next step is to collaborate with other people to identify possible improvements. Parents and educators are a great starting point.
The ENGAGE WITH OTHERS page provides a tool for participants to search for other knowledgeable persons who may be able to help.
We will add more experts throughout The Challenge. Youth are encouraged to contact us when they discover other experts in their communities and we may add them.
9. Decide and Present
After engaging others for further input, the next step is to confer with teammates and choose the best idea (or ideas).
The DECIDE AND PRESENT page also provides suggestions on how to create a winning presentation.
We will add more presentation ideas throughout The Challenge. Youth are encouraged to contact us if they come across other strategies and we may add them.
10. Submit an Entry
After deciding which idea (or ideas) to submit and planning a presentation, the next step is to fill out an entry form. Youth can save their work as they go and come back to work on the draft entry or submit the final entry at any time prior to the May 1, 2017 deadline. Youth are encouraged to submit as many entries as they wish.
Cash Grants to Educators
Project Paradigm will award more than $50,000 in cash grants to teachers and others who are associated with the top 100 teams. To learn more about these grant opportunities, please contact us.
Additional Youth Opportunities
Project Paradigm invites youth aged 4 to 18 to become ambassadors to help promote innovation and kindness and gain leadership experience. Ambassadors will help spread the word about The Challenge and compete for a trip to Los Angeles to attend The Paradigm Challenge Prize Ceremony..
PUBLIC VOTING CONTESTS
Project Paradigm will host different public voting contests to help raise awareness about waste and to promote The Paradigm Challenge. Youth will create and submit a contest entry and ask friends and family to vote. The 10 entries with the most votes will receive cash prizes up to $500.
Rules & Privacy
The Challenge is open to youth aged 4 to 18 (as of May 1, 2017). Youth may compete on teams of any size (or individually). The top 100 teams will earn cash prizes of up to $100,000.
Participants are not asked to provide any identifying information (such as last name, day of birth, or address), unless their parents have provided written consent for the submission of such information. Emails to participants under age 13 will be sent to the parent/guardian email address provided during registration.