SIC Project & Judging Criteria

Four Phases of Innovation 

We offer four project entry categories to reward and support innovations at all phases of social impact development. You can submit as many project entries as you’d like in any phase.

Define: social impacts and the innovation driving them exist conceptually in your head, or you've a few general ideas with limited research at this point.

Design: impact potentials are taking shape as project execution assumptions are tested with potential customer/beneficiaries, beginnings of formal internal and external teams and some details on project pilot locale and test elements are captured.

Pilot: the innovation project has been tested with a small group of customer/beneficiaries and is getting verifiable impacts. Team continues making project improvements based on live experience in the field.

Scale: the innovation has proven successful at achieving social impacts in more than one geographic area. The project has sustainable financial and human resource models with strong leadership and strategic partner support in place.

Judging Criteria 

We’re looking for social innovations. What’s a social innovation? It’s an idea that significantly improves results or helps to solve existing social or environmental problems. We’re looking for innovations that can grow to create local or global impacts, and passion and abilities to drive such growth are as important as the innovation idea. USD Judges will evaluate projects using the following criteria:

Round 1: Students are required to answer a series of questions about their idea. The projects will be judged on the clarity of their responses. Round 1 questions are:

  • What is your social innovation? 
  • What are your expected sources of revenue and/or funding? 
  • Who benefits the most from your social innovation?
  • What is your success?
  • How will you get there?

Round 2: Students will be required to submit a detailed project narrative and create a short video. The projects will be judged on demonstration of a high probability of success in the following four areas:

  • Social impact
  • Creativity/innovativeness of the idea
  • Team readiness 
  • Business viability/sustainability (both financial and operational) 

Round 3: Students will be invited to pitch their ideas in front of a life panel of experts from the business, non-profit, and academic sectors. In addition to the criteria from Round 2, judges will also consider the effectiveness of the delivery of the pitch and the overall likelihood of successful implementation.

Students will also be given the opportunity to work with a mentor upon becoming a semi-finalist. 

Requirements of Winners 

The Center for Peace and Commerce requires students to spend the entirety of their award funds on developing and implementing their project ideas as described in their final presentation to judges. To track the progress of the projects and funds employed, winners are required to:

  1. Submit monthly performance and accountability updates for six months following receipt of award
  2. Attend the November 2016 Idea Lab, “Ideas Meet Reality,” to present the progress of implementation of their project and offer coaching to next generation of Social Innovation Challenge participants.
  3. Work with a mentor approved by the Center for Peace and Commerce

Contact Information

Center for Peace and Commerce
Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice 121
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110

Phone: (619) 260-4857
Fax: (619) 260-4891