With OSCEdays we invite you to find a local challenge in your city or neighbourhood and work on it - for example during a local event.

And we ask you to share information about your challenge - this will enable others to help you – and to share documentation of your results - this will enable others to learn from it and build upon.

Below you’ll find some suggestions how to go about it in the format of a step by step guide.


Here are the 7 STEPS to define and share an individual challenge:

##– 1 – Pick A Subject Or Idea For A Challenge

Pick a subject or idea of interest. It might be a local problem or opportunity – that is circular economy related.

Not sure about your idea? Read more in the grey info-box below: ‘What Is A Challenge?’

To see some examples of challenges click on the challenge tag.


####What Is A Challenge?

OSCEdays events are supposed to be hackathon like. A hackathon is a physical gathering where people come together to create and build things – like prototypes for example or tangible experiments. Sometimes the projects start and end at a hackathon, sometimes just first steps are made, sometimes already existing, larger and ongoing projects join a hackathon to get milestones done or invite new people into the process, giving them access to practical hands on action. Have a look at Science Hack Day Berlin as an example.

So a challenge in the OSCEdays is a project to take on - “hack” for example during a local event.

What is a good subject? It can be all kinds of things. The origin/background of the challenge could be anything from just an idea to a students project to a real and serious industry, waste management, design or logistics problem for example on waste, resources, product design, biosphere protection and so on. Have a look into your neighbourhood, do you see problems? Check the OSCE Future Wish List for inspiration.

Since OSCEdays are about Open Source & Circular Economy the challenge should be part of at least one of these two worlds and be willing to expand also to the other. Openness is key! If you have a circular economy project, problem or idea - share and discuss it openly. If you have an open source project - explore how it could become more circular.

##– 2 – Define A Clear Goal (Outcome)

Define a clear outcome of the challenge and a clear timeframe – made to be understood and contributed to by the people you want to join the Challenge. This often means to break down a larger problem into a smaller, solvable one. Check the grey box below for more info.

A Challenge needs a clear goal – an outcome, a point when it has ended. Larger problems or projects need to be broken down into smaller steps – milestones for example – that can be understood and solved in a certain timeframe. ‘Achieving A Circular Economy’ is not a clear outcome, but ‘Finding A Name For A New Circular Economy Mushroom Startup’ is.

A clear and achievable outcome will help to motivate people to join your challenge. If you have trouble to find this clear outcome have a look into STEP 3 – Formats to get some inspiration.

break it down

Following from that outcome you’ll find a clear timeframe. This means there need to be a clear starting point and end point of your challenge. You can do this in every way you see fit – long or short. But remember: When your challenge is part of an event it should probably be short – not longer than just two days. / depending on your event.

####Who Are Your Collaborators?
Think about who you are looking for. This will also help to frame the outcome and manage your expectations. It will also be important when you advertise the your challenge later and look for people to join it. Tailor everything to the people you want to join.

If you are looking for people from other fields that are new to the problems get prepared and ready to teach people. But you can also look for other professionals. It might be hard though to find people with the exact level of expertise you are looking for. But post the challenge anyway and start working on it – in the public. Let Openness do its magic! Maybe unexpected things will come out of this.

####UPDATE: Define Your Challenge
A methodology and worksheet about defining a challenge is included in the Circular Design Guide.

##– 3 – Define A Simple Format

Give your challenge a format that can be understood quickly. Think about existing formats that could fit. In the grey box below you can get ideas for possible formats. Picking a format will also help you to frame the challenge (Step 2).

How will people contribute? How does the collaboration happen? Everything at a local physical event or are there ways for online contributions too? Ask clear questions and invite people to post answers under the Challenge. Or invite them to add content on other websites or in other tools and explain them how to do it.

Think about documentation already. OSCEdays is about building an accessible knowledge base for everyone to build upon. If you post extended information to allow people online to understand your challenge – this is already great documentation. If you invite them to online contributions – like comments – this is another great way. But there are more ways how open source documentation can happen. Check the Open Source Category for more info.

INFO BOX (Formats)

Do you have an interesting, unexplored question or problem for example around a “service” innovation, a “supply chain” innovation, “logistics” innovation, a „communication“ innovation or a „hardware“, „software“ or „design“ innovation, that hasn’t even been discussed? Sit down and start. The goal could be to find further questions for investiagtion, or an idea, or even fully-fledged action plan or model to start working on. The outcome could be short document describing your findings or even a quick and illustrative prototype made with cardboard.
Forum tag: discussion

Do you already have a great idea for a service, system, software or hardware solution? Start (or continue) prototyping! Use the OSCEdays platform to show people what you are doing, ask for help and invite them to join you. Share problems and results during or after the process.
Forum tag: prototyping

####Building & Implementation
If there is already a good practice, solution or plan developed, the challenge might be to implement it, for example in a local neighbourhood, factory, project or community. Form a group and swarm out to the city to talk to shop-owners. Or have an action-day to build more content for your project. Or do extended betatesting. Or build more copies of it… Do whatever steps are necessary to get to the next level.
Forum tag: implementation

####Documentation Jam
You’ve already created a good technical solution or ‘best practice’ but it is not well-documented (open sourced) yet? Sit down and start the documentation. Invite people to test your documentation, give feedback, suggest good tools or structure, or provide other help with design, language or anything else. Communication is key.
Forum tag: doc-jam

####Playing & Researching
Creativity means to jump outside of the box. Some challenges will be very unusual or different from the ones above. Well, the ‘play’ tag is for you. It might be research or experimentation, for art or protest, for laziness or communication.
Forum tag: play-research-art

##– 4 – Share It On The OSCEdays Forum

Describe the Challenge and post it on the forum. The clearer and more defined the more likely people can contribute. Use the template from the grey box below.

If you have problems to describe the challenge go back to STEP 2 and break down the challenge to a smaller step.

Post the challenge in the green category of your choice – for example ‘Food’ or ‘Energy’

When you post your Challenge please put ‘[INDIVIDUAL CHALLENGE]‘ in front of the name and use the challenge tag.

Provide necessary resources so that people can understand the challenge. This could be links to data sets, building plans, websites and so on.

It is possible, that you already have website or collaboration space online about your challenge. In this case you don’t have to double it. Just provide a short description and a link to the place where the collaboration happens.

Please be aware that by posting to this forum you agree to post your text under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike License.

INFO BOX (Template to post a Challenge: Copy this into your topic and add in info.)

//Delete & replace this with a short summary of the challenge. Mention the outcome – what will be produced? – and the format. If the challenge is part of a physical event mention this here as well.//

#####Introduction & Background
//Delete this & replace it with background info about the challenge. What is the context? What is it for? Why does it matter? Add a little bit info about you and the organisation or project that is behind the challenge if there is one. Make it short and descriptive! Post links to longer descriptions and introductions rather than copies of it.//

#####Steps – What Will We Do?
//Delete this & replace it with a description what you will do in the challenge. Use a step by step structure. This makes it easy for people at your local event to understand what is going to happen and for people in other cities to mirror your challenge or contribute to it from remote. For some challenges a step by step structure wont make sense – replace it with something more suiting than.//

//Delete & replace this with resources necessary or helpful to understand the challenge – data sets, websites, building plans and so on.//

##– 5 – Invite People To It: Advertise It

Once your challenge is posted in the forum there are things you can do to increase the visibility – invite collaborators. Here are just some things you can do:

  • Is the challenge part of a local event? Add it to the event program. And advertise it like described here: BUILD A LOCAL COMMUNITY – How To Gather People

  • Write to people you would like to attend or help directly.

  • Stroll around the forum. Study what others have done on similar stuff. Study their threads. Maybe help them with their questions and ask them yours by leaving a link to your topic there.

##– 6 – Run It : - )

Have fun running it. :slight_smile:

and make some impact

##– 7 – Document

If you decided to use a way to document your challenge that needs to be after the event – please do so. Don’t forget it. Share the solution you found. Make the outcome visible. – In a format useful to others.

A possible format for your documentation could be an OSCEdays ACTION protocol.

#Useful Resources



img 1 MagicSpiral - public domain
img 2 Challenges, by, CC-BY-SA
img 3 Viroids, by Liquiddeer, CC-BY-SA
img 4 Animated log spiral, public domain

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