Voices

Global Problem Solvers Want Your Input on Challenges to Address in 2018

On MLK Day, which is also the National Day of Service, here's how you can take action on the most pressing issues affecting your community.

Alex Amouyel

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This is an opinion piece by Alex Amouyel, Executive Director of Solve.

What are the biggest problems facing people in your local community? For the National Day of Service, MIT Solve wants you to share them to help design our 2018 Global Challenges for innovators and entrepreneurs across the world to tackle.

It’s days like today when we think about how to approach big global issues, together. Solve believes that while big problems exist in the world, all of them are solvable if we just tap into the talent and ingenuity that exist in our communities and across the world, if we help people come together to work together. Crowd-sourcing and open innovation have brought forward solutions to a surprising range of global problems -- from predicting solar flares, to improving road safety in Cairo, to fighting off diseases in the human body.

We call it “CrowdSolving.”

Each year, Solve issues four Global Challenges across economic prosperity, health, learning and sustainability and asks for solutions from innovators and entrepreneurs. We get hundreds and maybe this year thousands of great applications from over 100 countries and our judges select the best ones. And then the Solve community - our members from corporations, foundations, governments and non-profits as well as MIT faculty, students and initiatives - support those Solvers and form partnerships that will help them to pilot and scale their solutions for maximum impact.

Just like we crowdsource solutions, we want to crowdsource the challenges and get global input. This year, we are holding Challenge Design Workshops to solicit input from communities from Mexico to the United Kingdom and from Detroit to Standing Rock.

Now for the first time, Solve just opened our Online Challenge Design tool as a way for you and anyone from across the world to vote on and input on what challenges you think we should focus on. This is the first time Solve is putting out an open call for Challenge design -- and so far, we have already received nearly 1,000 votes, but we need your help so please click here to participate!

Once we launch our 2018 Challenges in March, we’ll be looking for Solvers to support that are as impressive as our current ones:

  • In Afghanistan, the country’s first female tech CEO Roya Mahboob became a Solver for her work boosting economic prosperity by providing digital and business training to women through 13 IT centers across the nation.
  • In Boston, Harvard Medical School student Oren Miron became a Solver for his work advancing health innovation through a new brain test that detects autism at birth--helping with early treatment and better lifelong outcomes.
  • In Syria, Solver Me/We Syria is promoting peace and learning among Syrian youth with a program that uses storytelling to counter violent extremism and teach team-building and creative problem solvHelp design the next Solve Global Challengesing.
  • And in Hong Kong, Solver WATERIG is creating sustainable sources of water and energy with a device that collects energy from solar, wind, waste, and ground cooling and then uses that energy to produce 2,000 liters of drinking water per day.

Find out more about our 66 Solvers and how you and your organization can support Solve.

And if you can, spend part of your National Day of Service giving us input on our next Global Challenges: Help design the next Solve Global Challenges. Share your community’s biggest dilemmas, your most frustrating obstacles, your most complex questions. Solve wants to hear how the next class of Solvers can best serve your community.