In just a couple of short days, the teams participating in the Helsinki Energy Challenge will know if they made it to the finals or not.

After the submission deadline 30 September, we got the news: a whopping 252 teams had submitted an entry for the Helsinki Energy Challenge. The City of Helsinki gathered a group of experts to sort out who has the goods to earn a spot in the finals.

Project Director Laura Uuttu-Deschryvere has been facilitating the evaluation work and says that the amount of entries caught the competition organisers off guard.

“We honestly didn’t expect so many applications so we’ve had to work double or even triple time to evaluate all the entries properly and to identify the ones with true potential. It’s been extremely interesting and difficult to find the best solutions, as the entries are really varied. Some are almost fully developed solutions and others are more raw ideas.”

Image removed.

Project Director Laura Uuttu-Deschryvere was
surprised at the amount of entries received.

The proposed solutions are being evaluated against the seven evaluation criteria set out at the start of the challenge. Many solutions meet these criteria with flying colours but others don’t. Uuttu-Deschryvere says that there are some entries that are perhaps not as useful in the Helsinki context but are, nevertheless, great ideas globally.

”We may not be able to utilise these solutions, which means that they cannot advance to the finals of the Challenge. But they deserve recognition and our plan is to lift these solutions up too during the Challenge process, even though they will not be in the finals.”

Truly multidisciplinary teams

In this first phase of the Challenge, the teams and team members themselves are also being evaluated based on their expertise in light of the challenge evaluation criteria. Uuttu-Deschryvere is very happy that many of the participating teams have turned out to be truly multidisciplinary

“We didn’t have any specific requirements on, for example, what kinds of degrees we want the team members to have, we just wanted them to have the kind of expertise that gives validity to their own solution. The teams have been a collection of, for example, experts with varying backgrounds from different types of organisations, or researchers, start-ups and large companies all working together, which has been fantastic to see”, Uuttu-Deschryvere rejoices.

At this point, the evaluators are just a couple of days away from having the shortlist of finalists ready. A maximum of 15 teams and their solutions will be chosen to proceed to the finals, but to ensure a fair competition, anonymity of the entries will be preserved. The esteemed jury that chooses the winner will evaluate the entries without knowing who the submitting team is.

The next step for the finalists is a virtual boot camp, where they will get expert advice from the City of Helsinki and a diverse group of experts on how to hone their solution for the last stretch of the challenge. Stay tuned to find out how things proceed.

Text: Liisa Leeve
Image: Jussi hellsten