InnoCentive, GlobalGiving, and Rockefeller Foundation Advance Open Innovation Solutions to World’s Water Challenges

By Wazoku

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Waltham, Mass. – February 7, 2012 – InnoCentive, Inc., the pioneer in open innovation and crowdsourcing, today announced the final phase of the “Global Giveback Challenge Series,” a collaboration launched two years ago between InnoCentive, GlobalGiving, and the Rockefeller Foundation to find solutions to dire water-related problems in developing countries. The solutions to the four Challenges posted on as part of the series are now available for funding on the GlobalGiving marketplace, where the Rockefeller Foundation will provide a 200 percent match for every donation through the end of February.

In January 2010, GlobalGiving, a charity fundraising site, solicited ideas from 800 of its partner members for critical problems that could be solved by the InnoCentive Global Solver Community. From the submissions, four water-related Challenges were developed and posted to the InnoCentive Challenge Platform, and awards of up to $40,000 per Challenge were offered by the Rockefeller Foundation.

More than 2,200 Solvers participated in the Challenge series, resulting in the submission of 335 solutions. From these submissions, the partner organizations selected those that best met the Challenge criteria and GlobalGiving is now using crowdsourcing to raise funds for implementation of the winning designs.

“GlobalGiving’s mission is to catalyze a marketplace for ideas, information, and money that democratizes aid and philanthropy. This project advances all aspects of what we’re trying to achieve,” said John Hecklinger, chief program officer at GlobalGiving. “In working with InnoCentive, we’ve empowered individual technical experts to share knowledge with grassroots NGOs to make these ideas a reality. And now, individual and institutional donors are collaborating to fund the solutions. When we began this project, we did not know what Challenges would surface or if solutions would be found, but by catalyzing a free flow of ideas, information, and money, good things are happening.”

The four Challenges that were solved as part of the Global Giveback Challenge Series included:

  1. Design of an easy-to-use method to purify water from Lake Victoria in Uganda, making it safe to drink.  Proposed by the EDGE project, this Challenge sought a way to provide 100 homes with water filters that would improve upon current filtration systems for the cost of one gallon of bottled water in the developed world.
  3. Submitted by Chris Schulz, an environmental engineer from Denver, Colorado, the winning design is simple, low-cost, user-friendly, and effective against almost all bacteria, protozoa, and some viruses. EDGE will assemble and distribute filters to their partner community in Uganda this summer, allowing hundreds of individuals to go about life without fear of intestinal disease and parasites, empowering people to break the bonds of abject poverty.
  5. Sunlight/UV-light Dose Indicator. Proposed by Fundacion SODIS in Bolivia, this Challenge sought a visual sign of water that had been exposed to a sufficient dose of sunlight or UV-light for disinfection. A team of four graduate students from the University of Washington developed the winning solution: a solar disinfectant indicator that is selfcontained, selfpowered, lowcost, durable, and reusable. Composed of offtheshelf components and proven technology, the indicator should withstand a minimum of 10 years of use.
  7. Rainwater Harvesting Storage Tank for a Wetland Region in Kerala India. Proposed by Rainwater for Humanity, this solution was provided by Mario Rosato, who also won an award for his solution to The Economist-InnoCentive Challenge, The Capture of Atmospheric Carbon to Address Global Warming. Rosato proposed a rainwater catchment tank that could be constructed of panels made from bamboo fiber, coconut husks, or other vegetable fiber conglomerated with cement.
  9. Implementation of this solution has the potential of reducing the cost of rainwater harvesting by 60 percent.
  11. Small-scale River Turbines for communities along the Amazon River. Proposed by Green Empowerment, this Challenge sought a design for a river turbine to generate power for villages, schools, and medical centers in the Amazonian jungle in Peru. Alain Lemyre, a weather forecaster from Quebec, provided the winning design: an improved river turbine model that is appropriate for the region, technically and economically accessible, and constructed with materials available in developing countries.

“When we launched the Global Giveback Challenge series in 2010, we knew our Solver community would seize the opportunity to provide solutions to communities in need,” said Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of InnoCentive. “By partnering with GlobalGiving and the Rockefeller Foundation, we are now in a position to watch these solutions come to life. We’re looking forward to seeing the real-world implementation of these game changing ideas so as to improve the lives of millions.”

For more information about these Challenges and solutions, and to contribute to their implementation, please visit the Global Giveback Funding Challenge page


About GlobalGiving


Global Giving is the leading Internet-based network for peer-to-peer philanthropy. Our mission is to sustain a high-powered marketplace for good that connects donors directly to the causes they care most about. Through GlobalGiving, individuals and corporations can maximize the impact of every dollar by efficiently and transparently directing their donations to projects here at home and around the world. Since its launch in 2002, GlobalGiving has helped thousands of donors give more than $58 million to over 5,200 projects around the world.


About InnoCentive, Inc.


InnoCentive is the open innovation and crowdsourcing pioneer that enables organizations to solve their key problems by connecting them to diverse sources of innovation including employees, customers, partners, and the world’s largest problem solving marketplace. InnoCentive’s proven Challenge Driven Innovation methodology, community of millions of problem Solvers, and cloud-based technology platform combine to fundamentally transform the economics of innovation and R&D through rapid solution delivery and the development of sustainable open innovation programs. Leading commercial, government, and nonprofit organizations such as Booz Allen Hamilton, Eli Lilly & Company, Life Technologies, NASA,, Popular Science, Procter & Gamble, Roche, Rockefeller Foundation, and The Economist partner with InnoCentive to solve problems and innovate faster and more cost effectively than ever before. For more information, visit or call 1-855-CROWDNOW.



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By Wazoku

Wazoku is an innovation SaaS business that helps some of the world’s biggest organizations to innovate at scale. Whether it’s making the most of your employee's ideas, identifying new partners to collaborate with, or exploring the boundless potential of open innovation – or all three! – Wazoku makes innovation happen.