OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

NextGen Cup Challenge Evaluation Criteria

Solutions entered into the Challenge must be recoverable and address the fiber-based hot and cold cup; however, ideas may also include cup lids, sleeves, straws, liner innovations, and/or consider reuse and alternative delivery systems. Ideas may also consider hot and cold cups separately. 

When devising your concept, we encourage you to ask yourself: How might this solution make life better for users, businesses, and the world?

Submissions will be evaluated according to the following criteria: 


    • Cup + Cup System: Solutions will innovate for the hot and cold fiber cup, which can include liners and the whole cup system with a lid, straw, and sleeve. Reuse and alternative delivery systems are also welcome. 

    • Performance: Solutions must meet or exceed the industry’s current health, safety, and environmental performance standards pertaining to cups. Please review our Additional Resources to help you get started. Below are some technical features that should be incorporated into your solution:

      • Temperature range: Up to 212°F (100°C).

      • Durability/Shelf Life:

        • Unfilled (inventory): 6 months to 1 year

        • Filled: 3+ hours (packaging designed for single use)

      • Printability (i.e. ability to accommodate a logo): Certain links may impact a product’s compostability. Participants should consider the end-to-end viability of their technologies, including any factors that may impact end-of-life goals.

    • Ecosystem: Solutions should seek to be relevant across the entire food-service industry, rather than exclusive to one product or business type.


    • Recoverable: Solutions seek to enable the recovery of raw materials at their highest possible value across multiple global infrastructures (e.g. recycling, composting).

    • Recycled Content: Solutions should seek to include recycled material and minimize virgin material and resource use along the entire development chain.

    • Sourcing: The material content of solutions should be sustainably (including renewable) and ethically sourced (including both virgin and recaptured materials). 


    • Adaptable: Solutions will be adaptable—designed to be commercially viable in the near-term, while also considering rapidly changing recovery infrastructure and technology in regions around the world.

    • Global: Solutions will consider the global marketplace. Solutions can be designed for implementation in priority markets of North America, Europe, and Asia, with a secondary focus on South America and Africa, OR consider a local approach to solve regional issues with the to-go cup. 

    • Experience: The solution should seek to improve the cup experience for customers, businesses, and the world at large. 


Submissions will be required to provide:  

IDEAS PHASE: Submissions during the Ideas Phase will be required to provide the following. 

  • Solution overview: Participants will provide a summary and overview of their solution. Creative, visual, and design-oriented supporting collateral is encouraged. 

  • Technical overview: Participants will provide a technical overview of their solution. Please do not submit confidential information as part of your application to the NextGen Cup Challenge. Submissions will not be considered confidential. For those innovators who would prefer to opt out of sharing their submission publicly, and instead have content reviewed only by the Consortium and a panel of Judges, you may select the "Non-Publicly Viewable" submission track.

  • User research: Submissions will include evidence of human-centered user research, feedback and testing of their concepts or prototypes. 

  • Prototype: Participants will provide visual evidence of concept prototyping including, but not limited to, images/sketches, models, videos, or other relevant formats. 

REFINEMENT PHASE: If selected to advance to the Refinement Phase, submissions will be required to the items below. During this Phase, the Consortium may ask technical questions of your submission. Any request you make for an NDA could be considered at this time.

  • Material Overview / Recoverability Plan: Submissions will include an overview of selected materials, and the recoverability potential for each material and the solution as a whole (including process for recovery).

  • Scale and Production Plan: Submissions will outline their pathways to scale and marketability, while also noting R&D or production ramp-up periods. 

  • Business Plan: Submissions present a business plan and complete a required business model canvas that clearly demonstrates a pathway to scale.