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    The WDCD Refugee Challenge is structured along seven phases. The process focuses on idea generation, feedback and improvement, selection of the finalists, acceleration of their ideas and creating the opportunities for implementation.

    The call for entries for the WDCD Refugee Challenge closed on 20 May 2016. 

    Participants could choose to answer one or more of the specified briefs. Entries may be entirely new ideas, or improvements for existing concepts.

    Ideas improve with feedback. In this phase participants and other registered platform users from the communities of WDCD, UNHCR and IKEA Foundation are invited to rate and comment online on the proposals entered. 

    The ultimate goal is to help one another get the best out of the proposed ideas. This phase also offers participants a chance to forge new collaborative partnerships. Want to join another team? Just ask!

    Entrants will get time to adjust their ideas based on the feedback received in the previous phase, and submit final proposals.

    Registered users will now be able to vote for the proposals they consider the best. Based on the outcome the challenge partners WDCD, IKEA Foundation and UNHCR Innovate will establish a shortlist of 20-30 entries. 

    This shortlist will then be put before our international jury of renowned designers/creatives from all disciplines, together with a group of refugees and experts from relevant fields. On July 1, the five finalists will be announced during WDCD Live Amsterdam.


    This is perhaps the most important challenge phase, in which design really must demonstrate that it can be a force for social change. Each of the five finalists will receive a grant of up to 10,000 euros to develop their proposal into a working prototype, supported by a business plan. Coaches from various design disciplines will be available to support the teams during this phase. IKEA Foundation and UNHCR will host workshops with experts and refugees to test the prototypes and help with feasibility studies. 

    This phase will be extensively covered on WDCD and partner media, enabling the public to see the designer at work. 

    The finalists present their prototypes and business plans to a group of potential implementation partners and investors, brought together by the challenge partners. This session should conclude with their commitment to adopt one or more of the proposed designs. The five solutions will be presented at a What Design Can Do event in November 2016.

    Although this phase unfolds beyond the remit of WDCD, both, WDCD and the challenge partners will follow and report on developments relating to the implementation of the finalists’ plans through their established channels. Once the implementation is a fact, WDCD and the challenge partners will announce this in style!