JOIN a team

The Maine Ideas Challenge is open to ANY student with ANY innovative idea. If you don’t have an idea – the Open Challenges are designed to inspire you!

Open Challenge #1: HEALTHY ENVIRONMENTS

Climate Change: Action Across Generations

Help design a way to promote intergenerational collaboration & action on climate change.

Open Challenge #2: THRIVING ECONOMIES

COVID-19: Reimagine Getting Outside in Winter

How might we reimagine winter on campus during the pandemic as an opportunity to (safely) have fun, spark joy and contribute positively to our mental health?

Open Challenge #3: RESILIENT COMMUNITIES

COVID-19: Reimagine Learning

How might we help students and educators adapt to remote learning and even reimagine what learning could look like?

Open Challenges will follow “design thinking” – which is optimistic, constructive, and active (doing over talking). And you won’t need any particular background or experience to join in. We think you’ll find it interesting, fun, and it looks good on your resume too!

We anticipate that participation will take 5-10 hours and will probably extend into the beginning of next semester. We’re going to set the schedule as a team. Enrollment is on a rolling basis. The kick-off for all teams will be November 17. Use the form below to sign up.

More questions? Please see this page for FAQs about the Open Challenges.


1. Inspiration

Attend a Kick-off

Three big questions. Which one interests you? Join the team and attend a kick-off, where we dive right into issues and inspiration. (1 hr)


2. Research

Do One Thing

Help the team gain insights by doing research, interviewing, etc. Share what you found out to identify opportunities for inspiration and empathy for those affected. (2-4 hrs)


3. Brainstorm

Explore Ideas

Put it all together. What did we learn? Where are the opportunities? Help brainstorm bold new ideas and apply fresh insights. (2 hrs)


4. Iterate

Develop an Idea

Develop an idea, working alone or as a team. Test things out: get the tools to build a quick prototype and learn what works. Work with mentors. Get creative. (up to you!)


5. Submit

Enter an Idea (or not!)

Submit an idea to the Challenge. This can be part of a team or on your own. (up to you!)


6. Celebrate

Have an Impact

Celebrate ideas for impact! Maybe you’ll be part of a team that makes change happen. Maybe you’ll win money. Either way, you’ll be part of an experimental, fun process to make a difference.


Have more questions? Please see here for FAQs about the Open Challenges, or read the 2-page Design Briefs about each area available here!

Sign Up Now

Join an Open Challenge Team and help to innovate around one of three big challenges.
  • Please pick one of the three Open Challenge teams to get started.
    Please select your role. Students will be part of the innovation work, faculty and staff will help them by gathering insights!