Cheat Sheet for the Climate Innovation Challenge Application!

Your idea for the BU Climate Innovation Challenge is great! You know it is. But how can you know exactly how your answers will be evaluated? What are they looking for? Here is a list of the actual questions on the application and a breakdown of what the judges will be looking for.

1. What is the climate problem you are addressing? Demonstrate the need by including any supporting information that you have discovered through primary or secondary research.

Secondary research, including reviewing blog posts and scholarly articles, is essential for building a solid foundation for your climate problem statement. This form of research will not only enhance your understanding of the issue but also help you identify the right groups of people to approach for primary research.

After establishing this groundwork, go out and survey a diverse range of individuals. This should include experts, advocates, activists, and regular citizens impacted by the issue. Your perspective, while valuable, is inherently limited. Engaging with a broad spectrum of people will greatly enrich your insight into the problem. Balancing primary research with secondary sources ensures a comprehensive approach to understanding and addressing the issue.

Related Judging Criteria

  • Targets a well-defined problem to address
  • Demonstrates in-depth understanding through primary and secondary research

2. Who are you trying to help with your solution and how are they currently trying to solve this problem? How is your solution different from solving an unmet need?

Be specific about the target audience your solution aims to serve. Reflect on the insights gained from your research, and identify individuals or groups whose needs could be addressed by your solution. Consider the unique aspects (your secret sauce!) of the idea and how it fills a gap not covered by existing programs or ventures. For example, if your idea is about how to address overheating in apartments for tenants without air conditioning, you may discover that these tenants are going to community centers to cool down. What does YOUR process look like for tenants? How does it affect them? How is your solution better?

Related Judging Criteria

  • Identifies key stakeholders who experience this problem
  • Uncovers organizations and initiatives doing work to solve this problem
  • Demonstrates how their solution solves an unmet need. 

3. Describe your solution in detail.

Provide a clear and detailed explanation of how your solution will be implemented and how it will change the “norm” for your target users. Focus on the quality of your idea rather than the quantity of information. You might use a before-and-after comparison to showcase how your solution will make a tangible difference.

Related Judging Criteria

  • Describes a well-thought-out solution that addresses the stated problem.
  • Demonstrates an actionable plan to lean test including any partnerships/collaboration needed.  

4. How will you measure the positive outcomes of your solution? (aka, the impact of your solution)?

Define measurable, quantifiable outcomes pertaining to your solution’s success. Establish specific goals and explain how you will evaluate the program’s success post-implementation.

Related Judging Criteria

  • Clearly outlines goals and their impact
  • Conveys key metrics for measuring progress

5. Who is on your team? What skills are included in your team that will help you execute this idea? If there are additional skills needed, how will you fill those gaps?

Whether you’re a one-person team or leading a diverse group, describe the skills and strengths each member brings. Be honest and confident in your abilities. Acknowledge any gaps in skills and outline a plan for acquiring the necessary expertise. This may include increasing the size of your team OR seeking external support through partnerships. 

Related Judging Criteria

  • Communicates why their team is well positioned to execute this idea and/or identifies specific gaps in skills and how would you fill those gaps. 

6. How has a climate justice lens informed your solution and implementation plan for the City of Boston?

Elaborate on how your solution promotes climate justice for vulnerable communities. Address their inclusion in the discussion, any possible partnerships with adjacent programs to engage these communities, and how their thoughts and abilities contribute to your idea.

Related Judging Criteria

  • Demonstrates a clear commitment to climate justice

Final Word: Our collective efforts to address climate change bring hope for a brighter future. Use this guide to create a powerful application for the Climate Innovation Challenge, and remember that we are working together to shape a better future for all. Best of luck!

More Innovation, More Inspiration