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Challenge The Economist-Lumina Foundation Challenge: Bridge the Gap Between the Workforce & Higher Education
The Economist-Lumina Foundation Challenge: Bridge the Gap Between the Workforce & Higher Education
STATUS: Awarded
Active Solvers: 872
Posted: Jun 04 2014
Challenge ID: 9933535
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America’s workforce and employers have a common goal – they both want a higher education system that better prepares workers to be successful on the job and teaches skills that will remain valuable in the future. How can companies work with higher education to make this a reality? The goal is to create a product or service that will facilitate communication between the employers and higher education about teaching workplace-relevant skills. 

This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution. 

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on July 25, 2014.  Late submissions will not be considered.


With the changing landscape of employment and economic uncertainty, the definition of a productive employee has morphed over time. Not only is an individual expected to hit the ground running, but employees are also asked to grow and develop into both broadened technical and leadership roles. Not all workforce skills map directly to available coursework or degrees in higher education. Employers are then faced with identifying the best surrogate set of academic skills and potential employees are frequently unaware of such expanded expectations. 

What skills are needed to ensure success (e.g. communication, project management, collaboration, applied mathematics)? And what specialized skills might be good predictors of career success (e.g. technical skills associated with the job, networking, or even critical thinking)? How can they be identified? Which ones apply broadly to the expectations for employees across the corporation and which apply narrowly to a specified discipline or division? The Seeker desires a product or service to be used by employers and universities to quickly establish the skills needed for success and to translate that information into an educational objective (degrees, specific coursework, etc.) in the setting of higher education. 

This is a special Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features:

  • There is a guaranteed award.  The awards will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by the Seeker. The total payout will be $10,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $2,000. 
  • In addition to the direct monetary award, the three finalists of this Challenge will be given a unique opportunity to attend and present their ideas to high-profile thought leaders at the upcoming Economist “Higher Education Forum” in New York City, New York, USA on September 30, 2014. This includes paid travel and accommodations to the event, admission to the event, and an opportunity to present live on-stage or to be interviewed by an Economist editor at the event. 
  • Finalists will receive guidance from three coaches on their presentation, pitch, and feasibility of the implementation of their approach before the live event. 
  • The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seeker.  Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solvers grants to the Seeker a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in this proposal, including for promotional purposes.

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided.

What is InnoCentive?
InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.

What is an InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge?

An InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge is a broad question formulated to obtain access to new ideas, similar to a global brainstorm for producing a breakthrough idea or market survey which may include ideas for a new product line, a new commercial application for a current product, or even a viral marketing idea to recruit new customers. Ideation™ Challenge submissions are typically about two written pages, and Seekers receive a non-exclusive, perpetual license to use all submissions.

In an Ideation™ Challenge, Solvers may:

  • Submit ideas of their own
  • Submit third party information that they have the right to use and further the authority to convey that right and the right to use and develop derivative works to Seekers
  • Submit information considered in the public domain without any limitations on use

Solvers should not reveal any confidential information in their submissions. Often the Ideation™ Challenge will be followed by one or more of the other three Challenge types to further develop the ideas and gain Intellectual Property protection when the concept has been well-defined.

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