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In the BridgeBuilder Challenge, we are collaboratively designing solutions that address urgent global challenges in radically new ways.

Consider the scale of some of the world's greatest challenges, and their growing urgency. Between 1994 and 2013 an annual average of 218 million people were affected by natural disasters. According to the UN annual report, war and conflict displaced 65 million from their homes in 2015 alone -- that’s 24 people, every minute of each day in the year. Today,  836 million live under extreme poverty, and 783 million lack clean drinking water.

Resource-poor areas, often found in the global south, bear much of this burden of scarcity and distress, but developed nations will soon feel these pressures as well.

At OpenIDEO, our hope is that our Challenges will be reflective of our times – and your great capability. The world’s problems might not be getting any easier, but this community is more ready than ever to take them on.

This innovation Challenge, in collaboration with GHR Foundation, will support organizations working to address urgent global challenges at the intersections of peace, prosperity, and planet in radically new ways. How might we work together to design and innovate for the global good?

The Need for a Different Kind of Solution

Work at the Intersection:

These global challenges are complex and interwoven -- problems that cannot be solved in isolation. They are also evolving at a rate that requires immediate action to provide relief, restoration and reconciliation.

We cannot build peace without considering the ways in which resource scarcity triggers conflict within a population. Neither can we increase prosperity without taking into account the destabilizing effects conflict has on a community. And we will never truly advance towards environmental sustainability, without confronting the pressures of poverty and population density on ecosystems.

Successful ideas will be solutions that bridge across peace, prosperity, and planet -- addressing the complex global challenges at the intersection of these issue areas in radical new ways. Throughout the Innovation Challenge,  we’ll refer to this as ‘bridging work’.

Collaboration Across Divides:

Whether working to advance peace, increase prosperity, or preserve our planet, there is a need for dialogue, and collaboration across issue areas. Successful solutions are no longer single-faceted, given the dynamism of our evolving global community. Whether working between municipalities and community organizations, or across non-profits in a similar geography, the whole is greater than the simple sum of its parts. We are excited to see ideas that are born from or strongly encourage collaboration.

Focus on Process and Infrastructure:

Consider global challenges as problems of process and infrastructure, rather than problems of  resource. Successful solutions will ask: “What scaffolds can we build to support communities in making progress on their own?’, instead of assume additional resources alone will solve a problem. This focus on processes, rather than resources, leads to developing innovations that communities can lean on to help them thrive sustainably.

Where do you Fit In?

If your organization is already doing bridging work, we’d love to learn more about a recent project, and how this innovation Challenge might amplify it. If your organization is only focusing in one of these topic areas, join our innovation Challenge to explore new models and expand the scope of your work, as well as be connected to other actors in the space who may compliment your mission.

To further clarify this call to action, here are a few example case studies of initiatives aligned with bridging work and this innovation Challenge:

A solution bridging Peace and Planet:

The Sri Lankan Government builds a program to bolster water security in postwar recovery

A solution bridging Planet and Prosperity:

Barefoot College connects rural communities to solar, water, education and professions to help individuals take control of their lives

A solution bridging Prosperity and Peace:

Chancen:reich connects refugees and displaced peoples with economic opportunity after regional conflict

The OpenIDEO Challenge Process

During our Ideas phase, we'll call a global community to action – to share solutions that address urgent challenges at the intersections of peace, prosperity, and planet in radically new ways. These ideas should bridge solutions in two of the three issue areas.

Then, with help from our Challenge Sponsors and Advisory Board, we’ll create a shortlist of submitted ideas that will move into our Beneficiary Feedback phase. During Beneficiary Feedback,  we will ask contributors to test ideas in their communities and apply feedback to their proposal.

Next, during our Expert Feedback phase, shortlisted ideas will be given feedback from issue experts and leaders in the international development space. After expert feedback, we will open the Improve Phase, during which each idea will have 2 weeks to apply expert feedback to their proposal.

After these phases and the resultant refinement of idea proposals, we’ll review and announce the Top Ideas - a set of solutions that represent most promising innovations in the topic area. Top Ideas will receive funding and post-Challenge support, and our community will support the transformation of these collaborative concepts into tangible real world solutions.

Our Evaluation Criteria

We are looking for submissions from registered non-profit and for profit organizations, from all over the world. Check out our Evaluation Criteria here, for more information on requirements and submission guidelines.


Selected top ideas will:

⬩ receive a share of $1 million in funding from GHR Foundation.

⬩ be part of a cohort of top innovative organizations helping to solve pressing issues.

⬩ be invited to a kick-off workshop during which they will meet other winners and explore how their ideas connect across the Challenge theme.

⬩ receive ongoing partnership support from GHR Foundation, potential connection to other funder networks, and PR exposure.

About our Sponsor

Our Challenge sponsor, GHR Foundation, is anchored by a belief in responsibility, action, and the knowledge that we are all deeply connected regardless of race, religion, nationality, or economic status.  They see faith as a powerful resource for good—a unifier and lever for positive social change, and a driver for building more authentic connections (bridges, if you will) between people, networks, issues, and resources. Stemming from its own Catholic roots, GHR aims to leverage this challenge as a means to answer the universal call of Pope Francis to “build bridges” and contribute to making the world a better place for all humankind. 

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GHR Foundation accelerates systemic change by nurturing promising new possibilities and partnerships in the areas of global development, education and health. The pioneering design-build legacy of GHR’s founders has guided its philanthropic approach—collaborating with the world’s experts to design and build opportunities for change to take hold.

About the BridgeBuilder Program

BridgeBuilder is a series of three innovation challenges bringing increased collaboration and a human-centered design approach to international development. The program is a joint initiative of OpenIDEO and GHR Foundation. It is made possible through GHR funding. Learn more about our program here.

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Challenge team (3)

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Alex Nana-Sinkam

Challenge Manager

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Ashley Tillman

Community Manager

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Kate Rushton

Community Manager