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The Challenge

The Locate Challenge Lab connects people, ideas and resources to solve real-world problems. Be part of a globally diverse team and use your skills and experience evolve ideas that make the world a safer place.

“Creativity is just connecting things”
– Steve Jobs

“We know that innovation and ideas are everywhere. What we often underestimate is the power of many minds versus a few. Extending problems out to a wide diverse network rather than a small team of subject-matter experts – can – and indeed will (this is proven) deliver results. There is something humbling and powerful in the fact that ordinary people can contribute to extraordinary things.”

Simon Hill, Wazoku, CEO, Co-Founder

Innovation is Evolution

The race to find a safe and effective vaccine against the coronavirus (COVID-19) was met with extraordinary effort and common purpose. History shows that if you bring people together with diverse talents, new ideas can generate previously unimaginable solutions to problems.  Innovation is a process of evolution, where ideas are connected and adapted, sometimes for different purposes.

Glassmakers from the Ottoman Empire moved to the Island of Murano to create a hotbed of innovation. They created glass with a curve in it. This led to millions of people being able to use the new glass lens to read papers produced by the newly invented printing press, which was adapted and improved from models developed over centuries in China.  

The Lightbulb Moment

Many people associate Thomas Edison with the invention of the light-bulb and the phonograph and Alexander Graham Bell with inventing the first practical telephone. You imagine them as lone genius and the worlds greatest inventors. Few people have heard of the Parisian painter Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville, whose patent for a machine that recorded sound created the platform for Edison and Bell to adapt and improve his idea.  

The Idea Factories

Edison sold his first ‘invention’ of the quadruplex telegraph and used the funds to establish an ‘ideas factory’ at Menlo Park, New Jersey. He assembled an expert multi-disciplinary Research and Development team, including mechanics, physicists, chemists, metalworkers and draftsman. He created the conditions to iterate small improvements in the light bulb.  Edison is quoted as saying “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” The team at Menlo Park patented over 1,000 inventions. 

Alexander Graham Bell created Bell Labs, which became known as the Idea Factory through the diversity of talent and tolerance of failure. Their monopoly of the phone service was turned into a unique agreement where in return for the monopoly any patented invention would have to be freely licensed to any American company that found it useful, so they could keep their profits, but would give away its ideas in return. 


About the Locate Challenge Lab

We seek solutions

We aim high and aspire to be systemic in nature. This means trying to come up with solutions that go beyond dealing with a part of the whole and address the root cause of why things are not working in the first place. However, we know systems can be improved through a series of marginal gains. Small incremental steps when taken together can also make a significant difference. This is why our Challenge Projects are over 21 days or 100 days.

We bring together teams from across the globe 

Our Challenge Labs are social and bring together diverse participants from across the globe to work collectively with a common purpose.

We are experimental 

They are not one-off experiences. They are ongoing and sustained efforts. The team doing the work takes an iterative to the challenges it wants to address, prototyping interventions and managing a portfolio of promising solutions.

We learn fast, adapt and share what works

Catch, correct and learn from failure. Share information, respond quickly and then keep adapting.

Join teams from around the world

… and work on ideas that can make a positive difference to peoples lives and pursue challenges you believe in with passion and purpose

Our accomplished mentors are committed to the growth and development of all participants.  Mentors will provide feedback, guidance, and support to participants throughout the duration of the challenge. 

At the end of the challenge. teams will deliver a series of pitches, with culminating in a presentation to a high level judging panel chaired by Professor Dame Sue Black, Baroness of Strome.

How can you get involved?

We have a number of  short (21 day) and long (100 day) challenges to make tangible change in the work we do and a difference to the families of the missing and unidentified.  The first set of challenges will be over 100 days, starting on Tuesday 6th September and concluding on Wednesday 14th December 2022.

Teams have started work on a wide range of ideas, from the use of images in unidentified body investigations, crowd sourcing geo-forensic search, simple secure exchange of information between police and families in long term missing persons case, improving identification of bodies from burial at sea sites and many other challenges.

Every contribution counts. Join us to support these amazing teams who are making the world a safer place with their innovative solutions. Invest in the future by donating today! Every penny will be invested to turn these ideas into action. 

How does it work? – Seek and Solve

Phase One – The Idea Generator

Our Idea Generator is where we seek and develop ideas.  If the idea gains sufficient momentum it will be launched as a specific challenge project. This phase of research and development is always open. Unlike challenges that operate once or twice a year we keep going all year round. You are free to propose ideas and collaborate with others to get it to a place where it can become a challenge project.

Phase Two – Define the challenge

What is our issue and our purpose for using a challenge project?  The first step is to clarify the issue and why it is important. Being clear on our purpose and the change we want to see will help us keep focused on achieving the outcome.

Phase Three – Gather data, information and ideas

What data/information/ideas do we need to find, and how will we do it? Any project needs to start with a good understanding of the information it already has, what it can access and what it needs. This stage is about exploring uncommon sources of data and insight that might illuminate the issue in a new way, and the methods we can use to gather them effectively

Phase Four – Mobilise people

Who might be able to help, and how can we best engage them? Collective intelligence design can help us tap into distributed experience and expertise to answer our questions. For this to happen, the goal needs to be clear, ‘the crowd’ needs to be carefully defined and targeted, and the motivations and incentives of those participating need to be considered.

Phase Five – Connect and interpret

How will we bring together people and/or data, and make sense of the results? In this challenge stage, we will design how people will contribute and interact when they’re brought together, considering how to manage group dynamics to draw out the best from our crowd. You’ll also think about how we will store and process any data we have collected. Finally, we need a plan for turning often messy data or unstructured text into useful results and insights.

Phase Six – Create change

Teams test and refine their assumptions through iterative prototyping, before presenting through a series of judging panel via live video conferencing to refine the ideas. The teams develop present the final version of their project in front of a high level judging panel.