Our Top 10 Remarkable Challenges in 10 Years

The HeroX team is celebrating our 10 year anniversary! 10 years of incredible challenges, inspiring innovation, and enabling a global community of innovators to provide top notch solutions for our customer’s biggest challenges.

When most of us came into the space of open innovation and saw first hand both the simplicity and power of crowdsourced solutions, I don’t think we could have imagined any of the challenges we’ve listed below.  In asking the team to take this task on, I don’t think they realized the journey they would go on in looking back to identify their ‘top challenges’.  This journey back in time allowed the team to relive some of our most favorite moments as HeroXers!   

So here we go!  The list, in no particular order, of our top 10 favorite challenges from the past decade. The stories, the solutions, the awe-inspiring innovation is next level; we are so proud of our community of innovators and all of the sponsors who trusted us to help.

Space Poop Challenge, from the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL)

In space, no one can hear you flush. That's because in space, there are no toilets. This challenge helped NASA to source a system that routes and collects human waste away from the body, hands-free, for fully suited astronauts. The challenge had over 20,000 competitors, 150 teams from 130 countries, 5,000 submissions, 21 finalists, and 3 winners. Plus 46 active astronauts who were relieved. 

Island of Happiness Coastal Design Competition, sponsored by Kura Kura Bali

Kura Kura Bali were looking for proposals for a new, sustainable approach to seawall design and construction. The winning solution bridged the gap between development and sustainability by providing a robust coastal defense solution reviving ecology while inviting and connecting local communities to the shoreline. 

Save Them All Challenge, sponsored by Best Friends Animal Society

This challenge was to propose an idea to efficiently allocate resources to pet owners at risk of losing their pets for behavioral, medical, or housing issues. We had two winners with amazing ideas and four honorable mentions.

NASA’s Lunar Loo Challenge - Jr Category, from the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL)

Help astronauts when they go back to the moon with a new toilet design that works in both microgravity and lunar gravity; and the submissions had to come from those under the age of 18! This challenge had over 460 teams and over 4,000 innovators. With winners in three different age brackets, we were incredibly impressed with our young innovator’s solutions.

Integra Gold Rush Challenge, sponsored by Integra Gold Corp

One million dollars to help find the next big gold discovery in Canada. Yup we did that challenge! With almost 2,000 innovators, the sponsors narrowed down to the top 5 ideas.

Honey, I Shrunk the NASA Payload, from NASA Tournament Lab (NTL)

The goal of this challenge was to give a tiny bot a new set of tools to explore the moon. Share those ideas for a mini payload to make lunar exploration more effective. One of the winning payloads, the Puli Lunar Water Snooper is headed to the moon aboard an upcoming mission! 

American Made Challenges, from National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Since 2017, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has been running challenges on HeroX that are designed to incentivize the nation's entrepreneurs to reenergize innovation and reassert American leadership in the energy marketplace. To date, NREL has run almost 70 challenges with HeroX.

Blockchain Breakthroughs for a Better World, sponsored by Coinbase

Coinbase was interested in finding new ways to use blockchain technology that address critical global issues such as environmental sustainability, healthcare, education or financial inclusion. They awarded 10 winners for their great ideas.

ARSX Innovations in Agriculture, from the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL) & USDA

For three consecutive years, the Agriculture Research Service (ARS) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have run a $100,000 prize competition for their employees encouraging fresh, new ideas for innovations in Agriculture.

Exploring Hell: Avoiding Obstacles on a Clockwork Rover, from the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL)

This challenge was for the need of an innovative obstacle avoidance sensor to explore the daunting surface of Venus on NASA’s mechanical clockwork rover. 15 winners were recognized for this tough challenge but the results were stunning.

The past decade has seen some incredible challenges and even more inspiring solutions for our sponsors. We look forward to what the next decade will bring to HeroX and our innovator community. The magic in being in the space of innovation, is that we’ve learned over time that anything is possible.  We don’t know what the future holds, but what we do know is that it will move and inspire us.  

Cheers to the next decade!

Whether you have a challenge to solve or want to put your ideas to the test in solving a challenge, join us at HeroX.

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