How do you encourage young people to look for solutions to some of the biggest issues facing humanity? You provide them with inspiration, tools, and a platform for designing and promoting unique solutions. That’s what the Aspen Challenge, powered by Skild’s competition platform, does.
Supported by the Aspen Institute and the Bezos Family Foundation, the Aspen Challenge encourages students to use their imagination to solve critical problems. Each year, the Challenge partners with an urban school district that has at least 25 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-cost lunch. The current partner is The School District of Philadelphia, with past Challenges being held in the Los Angeles Unified School District, Denver Public Schools, District of Columbia Public Schools, District of Columbia Public Charter School Board, and Chicago Public Schools. Up to 20 schools in the district are invited to participate.
Six Steps to a Solution: The Aspen Challenge Process
The Aspen Challenge involves six steps:
- Team creation. Each school participating in the Challenge builds a team made up of students with a range of skills. The teams are encouraged to embrace unity, curiosity, and the desire to make a difference.
- At an event called the Opening Forum, teams hear presentations from thought leaders who are taking on some of our planet’s biggest problems. These presenters pose a group of challenges to the team.
- Challenge selection. Each team chooses a challenge based on the passion they have for it as well as its relevance, feasibility, and sustainability. The teams then have one week to draft their vision and announce their goals.
- Solution development. The teams utilize a set of tools provided to design and test their solution. Coaches provide feedback as the project progresses.
- Teams generate awareness and interest in their communities using surveys, events, and media outreach.
- Participants present their solution to a panel of judges who select top teams based on creativity, feasibility, sustainability, and teamwork. Those teams go on to present their solutions at a national Aspen Institute event.
How Will Philly Change the World?
What fantastic ideas will come out of the Aspen Challenge in Philadelphia? We won’t know until next year. But Skild is proud to be supporting the Challenge with our competition management.