While the first entries to the WDCD Clean Energy Challenge can be seen on the challenge platform, we’ve received some questions about the eligibility of projects and the judging criteria applied. WDCD’s challenge leader Dagan Cohen gives some clarifications.

The WDCD Clean Energy Challenge is an international challenge focussing on five metropoles in the world. Can I join the challenge while I live in another city?
Dagan Cohen: ‘Yes, of course. This is possible in two ways. The first is that while you don’t live there, you do know the city and its problems well, because you are somehow connected. Either you’ve lived there before, or you’ve been there often. Either way you are well aware of the issues at hand.

‘The other possibility is that you’ve a generic solution that you figure, after reading the briefs, would fit very well in one of the five cities. In both cases it is advisable to support your entry with arguments.

‘Another thing is that we aim to find ideas that can be realised in a short period of time, with a maximum of five years, and that are scalable. Therefore, it helps if you can show us that you have the capacity to develop your project further, for instance because you collaborate with local partners in the target city. Or when you are already collaborating with local government or other partners in your own city, who could share their experiences with their counterparts in the target city.

‘The key thing is that your idea has the potential to be applied instantly and also is scalable.’

All this mainly concerns the entries from professionals and start-ups, not?
‘Indeed. We’ve three types of awards: blue sky or moonshot awards for far-fetched ideas with possible future potential, student awards and professional and start-up awards. For the first two types the above mentioned requirements are less decisive.’

When it comes to impact, it is required to support your proposal with metrics. How?
‘It means that you support your idea with for instance a prognosis of how many people will be affected by your concept. Will it create jobs? Does it improve the lives of people? It might help to investigate what norms are used for impact measurements of social enterprises.’

Regarding feasibility entrants are asked to consider at least seven criteria, including technical, economic, legal and psychological feasibility? Do you need to all these aspects?
‘Here counts: when applicable. If there are no technical aspects to your idea, you won’t need to mention technical feasibility, of course. But it always helps to add as many details and arguments to your entry.’

Excitement is another criterion. What do you mean by that?
‘We firmly believe that an exciting and appealing idea generates many ambassadors. A cleverly designed project will get more attention and has potentially more impact. This has everything to do with the communication power and the way you tell and visualize your story. This is also the reason why we ask you to give your entry an appealing title and add strong visuals and video.’

Finally, there is the question of commitment and whether you surrounded yourself with a team or group of experts or helpers. What if you are a lone wolf with a strong idea?
‘The key thing here is that we must be convinced of your perseverance and will to make your idea happen. It means that you have to show the jury that you really believe in your plan and seek the knowledge and experience you need to complete your idea with others. It is really about conviction.’