Wazoku Crowd Challenge Spotlight: Nexus Challenges

By Henry Crabtree

Posted on

In this blog, we look in depth at our first Nexus Challenges. Nexus Challenges allow Solvers to submit solutions, pitch offerings, or expertise for a chance to partner with global companies, governments, and NGOs in changing the world. Shortlisted Solvers or start-ups in these Challenges will be invited to present their world-changing solutions to multiple Seeker organizations in live Showcase Events.

Wazoku Crowd have recently launched the Unlocking the Potential of Clean Behind-the-Meter Energy Devices Challenge, the Detecting Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) in Building Structures Challenge, and the Advanced treatment of PFAS to ensure the safety of our Water Resources Challenge. Get involved today!

In recent weeks, we’ve been talking a lot about the opportunities that Nexus Challenges provide our global Solvers and innovative Seekers alike. Nexus Challenges allow our Wazoku Crowd of innovators, problem solvers, start-ups, and experts to submit anything from their ideas, their pitch offerings, their IP/tech, and their expertise. This will then be evaluated by subject matter experts and shortlisted Solvers will get the chance to present their world-changing solutions to many Seeker organizations all at once – a Wazoku Crowd first.

It’s time to take a deep dive into the first three Nexus Challenges. Why did we choose them? What innovative ideas can Solvers bring to the table? Who can take part? We’ll try to answer all your questions here, however please join us in the Wazoku Crowd Solver Community if you can think of anything else, or ask the question on the Challenges themselves!

Why these three Challenges?

In order to change our world, we must first identify pressing issues that Solvers can move the needle on.

Nexus Challenges are wider reaching than traditional Open Innovation Challenges: they could have relevance across climate and health, security and inclusion, or any number of cross-sector applications. These multidimensional Challenges demand multidimensional solutions, provided by you: our diverse and expert Solver crowd of 700,000+ people.

In recent years, the issue of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) persisting in the environment has potential links to harmful effects on the health of humans and animals. These long-lasting chemicals break down very slowly over time and are used in thousands of commercial and industrial products – meaning they are very widespread. Improvements in removing or destroying PFAS compounds, particularly in wastewater, will help us to ensure the safety of global water resources.

Particularly in Europe, buildings fitted with RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) are at higher risk of decomposition and a resulting danger to human life. RAAC is lightweight and was frequently used from the 1950s to the 1990s, but has less durability than traditional concrete. This lower structural load capacity, coupled with its potential deterioration when water is present, means that buildings with RAAC need careful management. But how do you detect RAAC when it may look the same as traditional concrete? Solvers are asked to develop methods to detect the presence of RAAC, signs of cracking and shrinking that may indicate its condition, and moisture levels.

Finally, our last Challenge on behind-the-meter energy devices focuses on the intersection of climate and security. Grid providers and energy networks have a real business challenge when it comes to Distributed Energy Resources (DER) – like solar panels, home batteries for EV charging, etc. The rapid expansion of DER in recent years is transforming generation, delivery, and consumption: but it also means that grid operators may not have much insight on how much energy resources is ‘behind-the-meter’ and distributed.

Solvers are invited to propose improved visibility of DER systems, so that grid providers and operators can better forecast generation and consumption, as well as improvements to the connection of these resources to the grid itself to reduce risk.

In water, the climate, health and safety, and energy generation, the Wazoku Crowd is helping to change the world. We have run numerous Challenges in these siloed areas in the last 20+ years. Now, with Nexus Challenges, we’re running Challenges across sectors.

Improvements to PFAS destruction won’t only benefit water works but will keep families safe, detecting faulty buildings will give governments and construction companies better insights to improve health, and improving the grid’s connection to people’s homes means those with renewable energy generators can find greater income from that link.

Who can take part?

It’s simple: anyone! Wazoku Crowd is running these Nexus Challenges with a very wide approach to give more Solvers more opportunities. However, here are some examples of who can get involved:

  • Individual Solvers with ideas, solutions, and IP; pitch offerings; or relevant expertise.
  • Teams of people from any sector with ideas, solutions, and IP; pitch offerings; or relevant expertise.
  • Innovative companies of any size looking for partnership, investment, or incubation/accelerator opportunities.
  • WIN Scouts: people with specific knowledge and contact information about companies or solutions of interest.

WIN Scouts are invited to join the Challenge, identify their submission as a Scout Submission, and let Wazoku Crowd know about the companies or solutions that may have a significant impact on these areas. These WIN Scouts will be paid, if successful, from the success fees that may be invested in the Showcase Events.

What ideas can Solvers bring to the table?

Solvers are invited to submit their ideas, solutions, tech/IP, proposals, and more to this Challenge. However, we’re also allowing Solvers with particular expertise in these areas to tell us about themselves and how they could help, too. The same goes for start-ups, scale-ups , or organizations of any size with relevant solutions that are at a mature level.

In Nexus Challenges, we’re also offering the chance for Solvers with existing, previously-submitted solutions to resubmit these – if they are not IP-restricted from other agreements. Wazoku Crowd Community employees will be in touch if we have identified a previous solution of yours as being of potential interest, and the steps to upload your idea to a new Nexus Challenge are as simple as:

  1. Review the Nexus Challenge and accept the Challenge Agreement
  2. View and edit your previous solution, making any updates you see fit
  3. Send!

The process really is just that easy. If you have any questions about potential IP considerations, please reach out to Wazoku Crowd staff at crowd@wazoku.com for more information and personalized advice.

Solvers who submit early to these Challenges will benefit from ongoing dialogue, early screening of your solution, and bespoke advice during the submission period. We encourage all Solvers with a particular interest in the opportunities afforded by Nexus Challenges to submit as early as possible to benefit from these helping hands.

Happy Solving!

The due dates for these first three Challenges is November 7th, 23:59 EDT. For a chance to be shortlisted for our exciting Showcase Events, get involved today in any of the three Challenges at the Nexus Community on the platform!

By Henry Crabtree

Wazoku's Community Marketing Manager, Henry is also a life-long Manchester United fan - but we still love him, regardless. When he's not cheering the Reds on, he's working his way through an extensive reading list. Need a book recommendation? He's your man!