Challenging Startup Challenges

Nowadays there are lots of startup challenges. Mostly they define a very broad area in where ideas are sought. It is a rather passive way to innovate. It is assumed that the idea or the startup is already out there, and it only needs some nurturing in the development, mainly on the business side. The basic question for sponsors of the challenge is: “Does the startup proposal fit into the description of the challenges and its financial conditions?” To conclude, in our opinion it is like fishing: The fish (idea) is already there, but must be to bite. It is passive.


Many challenges are related to societal issues. They have the same lack of a tight focus. Therefore, we propose to use a Creative Hit List, a thinking tool that Edward de Bono introduced in “Serious Creativity”: Set out a creative hit list which lays out the areas which new thinking needs to target. The idea behind it is: “Allocate space, responsibility and clear expectations for creative thinking, in the same way you would for other business processes.” This is defining hunting areas for ideas. It is active.

In general, a Creative Hit List is about “In which areas do we need better ideas?”. The Creative Hit List is a formal composition of areas where we have been careful to have better ideas. There is a creative need. A Creative Hit List has several subcategories.

Stubborn problems. In a persistent problem, a difference between the current situation and the advanced situation is that all attempts to come to a solution have failed. It seems impossible to come up with a new approach. Perhaps there are presuppositions that are hindering us to solve the problem. That is why we want to make a new, creative attempt.

A nagging problem: An unsolvable problem

Mention 5 topics, where new ideas could be decisive:

What is not going well? What are problems? What is constantly being resolved?

Are there bottlenecks? What are you running into? What comes back as a problem again and again?

What are many mistakes with? What should always be above?



The traffic going into a town continues to rise, despite all measures
Shortage of housing shortage for young people is increasing
Cigarette butts at all entrances to business premises

Improvements. An improvement is not about a problem. However, we assume beforehand that the current way of doing things may not be the best. Could there be other ways, better, cheaper, easier, faster? With a little creative effort, we might be able to make a big difference.

You don’t know if a current solution is the best, if you haven’t researched a better one

Mention 5 topics where new ideas could decisively improve a situation that does not need an improvement:

What can be done even better? What can be faster? More simple? Cheaper?

What can be done with less waste? What could be quieter? Using less energy?

What could be made more beautiful? What could be given more value?



Requesting, delivering and checking municipal permits
Many homeowners have been persuaded to make their home “greener”
There are large-scale initiatives for refugees and migrants in the city.

Tasks and projects in the future. These can be officially announced tasks and projects, but also areas that need to be addressed in future. They are an invitation to invent or design something new in an existing or future project.
Name at least 5 topics, where new ideas could be decisive.
  • Which current tasks or projects need some better ideas?
  • What should we do in the future? What will change soon?
  • Which problems will we face soon? Can we create opportunities as well?
The Neighborhood Community of the future.
Involvement of local residents in parks and squares.
What is the next step in the development of our city?


Hunches and Opportunities. In itself, this subcategory is not about problems or improvements, but just a wish to think creatively. We have some notion that someone else has never thought about this before. Perhaps we can design a totally new idea or approach for this area. Or maybe a change has taken place or a new technology, product or service has become available. Can we suggest new areas that potentially have exceptional potential?

Break barriers to create opportunity
Name at least 5 topics, where new ideas could be of decisive importance.
  • Do you have an idea? What have you never thought about?
  • What could we do in the future? Do you have a hunch?
  • What could be an opportunity here? 
  • In what area might a good idea be decisive?

The increase in cash-free payments in shops means that many people no longer have cash in their pocket. What are the opportunities for home and homeless people here?
The sound of police helicopters at demonstrations is rather intimidating in a city New ideas?
Our city will be the first without plastic bags.

A Creative Hit List is like an agenda for thinking sessions.  What is your thinking agenda for the next 6 weeks? How do you define a challenge for startups? Plan your thinking sessions.
Set a  date, time and place for your thinking

One Reply to “Challenging Startup Challenges”

  1. Below an example of a challenge that must have no idea about where they need or look for fresh ideas. It losesitself in platitudes such as:

    – For the 2019 competition, the focus is on using the latest digital technologies to create smart solutions for a safer, cleaner and better-connected world. (????)

    – At the dawn of a new era in aerospace, with Fly Your Ideas, Airbus offers a unique opportunity for students worldwide to activate their pioneering spirit and innovate for the future. (Waauw, but hollow)

    – This is a fast-moving and exciting time for aerospace (I know, but what…)

    – We encourage students to think big, be bold and help transform the world of aerospace. (Fantastic, but meaningless

    From: Fly Your Ideas (But you will find it everywhere)
    Deadline: 2018-09-30
    Award: 45,000 Euro
    Open to: University teams worldwide*

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: