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Ag and water systems are essential to a healthy ecosystem. Let's develop innovative solutions to monitor, analyze and manage our watersheds.


Watersheds are essential to the overall health of an ecosystem. The way we develop, manage, and respond to the needs of local watersheds has a direct correlation to the quality of our drinking water, recreation, and wildlife habitat. In the face of changing climate threats and improving technology, the time to innovate the way we manage and monitor our watersheds is now.

During this Challenge, participants are encouraged to identify and understand the variables that affect water quality while developing innovative solutions to monitor, analyze and manage these complex systems.

Water quality is determined by factors such as:

  • Precipitation and water runoff
  • Local agriculture practices / proximity
  • Surrounding soil quality and type
  • Water inflow/outflow
  • Public use
  • Local industries

Join us in this opportunity to design new solutions while incorporating cutting edge technology such as predictive data, IOT sensors, Low Power Wide Area Networks, and natural / organic processes. In particular, how might we incorporate material, information, and biological technologies that can help agricultural and water systems bear the stresses of climate volatility - water excess, runoff, pooling, infiltration, erosion, scarcity - without disrupting the health of watershed systems as a whole. Ideas that can address these concerns with greater efficiency, lower cost, and in a commercially sustainable model will excel in this Challenge. 

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We see two major areas ripe for innovation:

Stormwater Management: Stormwater carries more pollutants to waterbodies than almost any other source. It occurs when more rain falls than the land can absorb. The result is a flow of water across land surfaces that runs off into drains and waterbodies.  Poorly managed stormwater transports pollutants and contributes to flooding and erosion.

Agriculture Systems and Processes: Agriculture plays two distinct roles in watershed health. It acts as a buffer against (sub)urban sprawl and development pressure. It also impairs water quality by discharging bacteria and various chemical pollutants.

During this Challenge, we’re excited to see ideas that:

  • Focus on Watershed Protection: Do ideas propose new solutions to protect or improve the health of our water systems?

  • Are Innovative: We're eager to think beyond the current structure of awareness and outdated technology surrounding watershed protection. Do ideas bring something completely new to the field or ignite existing efforts in a new way? 

  • Consider Scale: Starting local can be really powerful – but how might ideas be transferable to a larger geographic region. We look for mindfulness of the different structures that exist in the space and how ideas might adapt as they grow.

  • Are Human Centered: This is at the heart of OpenIDEO’s approach. We look for ideas that lead with empathy - talking to potential end users, developing testable prototypes, and collecting feedback from stakeholders every step of the way.


OpenIDEO has partnered with Good Company Ventures, Comcast, and the William Penn Foundation to bring you the Water Resilience Challenge. We're calling on our global community to submit ideas, innovations, and new technologies around this important topic. 

The Challenge will be structured as a four week Idea sprint followed by a brief Feedback phase, and culminating with a Top Ideas announcement. 

Following the Ideas Phase, and with help from our challenge sponsors and advisory board, we’ll create a shortlist of submitted ideas that will move into a brief - one week - Feedback phase. During the Feedback phase all submissions are encouraged to continue progressing, while the shortlist represents the lightbulb and moonshot moments that are most active and aligned with our Evaluation Criteria.

Finally, we’ll announce the Top Ideas - a set of solutions that represent innovation and impact in the topic area. Together, we’ll look forward toward transforming these collaborative concepts into tangible real world solutions.


As a community, we are eager to see the radical conversations and unexpected collaborations that come from this Challenge. Opening this topic to a global community with a variety of experiences, cultural backgrounds, and areas of expertise holds great potential and rich learning opportunities.

Ideally, this challenge will yield tangible solutions that will be fast tracked as finalists for the Climate Ventures 2.0 Accelerator which will award 10 companies with a $25,000 GCV Impact Grant. Several cities and organizations also hope to pilot one or more of our graduating concepts.


The two top submissions will be fast-tracked to the Climate Ventures 2.0 Accelerator.

Runners up will receive:

Here is what entrepreneurs can expect from the CV2 Accelerator:

  • A non-equity $25,000 Good Company Ventures Impact Grant per selected team
  • Business and financial programming, averaging $10mm in investment per cohort
  • One-on-one mentoring from policy experts, Fortune 500 advisors and investors
  • Opportunity to pitch for investment at private investor events in NYC, DC and SF
  • Opportunity to pitch for $75,000 in pilot funding
  • Connection to a global network of advisors, investors and peers through USAID's Global Innovation Exchange
  • Curated pilot opportunities within the Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities Network and the Delaware River Basin

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GOODCOMPANY VENTURES -  is a non-profit organization that provides educational services to early-stage social entrepreneurs through its accelerator and business seminars. Good Company Ventures also provides consulting and research services for our participants and partner organizations.
machineQ - is a new Comcast service that leverages the latest in sensor, network, and software technologies to gather, transmit, and create actionable intelligence from the physical world.
WILLIAM PENN FOUNDATION - is a family foundation committed to improving education for low-income children, ensuring a sustainable environment, and fostering creative communities that enhance civic life and advance philanthropy in the Greater Philadelphia region.

Do you want to get involved in this challenge?

We follow a process with phases. Currently we are in the Impact phase. You can participate by adding stories on the impact of this challenge.
101 ideas
101 final ideas