How the Europe Challenge works

Libraries and communities that have been accepted to the Europe Challenge form ‘Challenge Teams’, which work together to:

  • address a specific issue or challenge
  • use creative problem solving to address their challenge
  • experiment, test and refine their ideas

The Challenge Teams use a ‘prototyping’ technique. This is a way to build solutions, so they can be tested before they are finished. Challenge Teams build ‘prototypes’ of their solutions to make sure these work well and are easy to implement, as well as being affordable.

The Europe Challenge programme runs for 12 months, from May to May. Following the open call and the selection process, the work starts in July and ends with a presentation of everyone’s solutions May of the following year.

Learning by doing

The Europe Challenge is a learning by doing programme with a range of support provided to successful entrants, including:

  • shared learning and exchange with other libraries and communities in different European contexts – through both online and in person get-togethers (in-person meetings offer a live programme of guests)
  • support from Democratic Society – experts in citizen engagement, collaborative design and innovation; with three online meetings for all Challenge Teams to attend, the option to book one-to-one online meetings for specific advice on local challenge activities and a monthly check-in where you can meet other Challenge Teams on the first Friday of every month
  • a set of downloadable tools providing methods and approaches to help Challenge Teams to work on their solutions
  • additionally, Challenge Teams can request (optional) funding to prototype and solve challenges
  • involvement in a final Europe Challenge event(s) that offers a platform to showcase prototypes and connect with potential funders and stakeholders beyond the programme for growing or (further) implementing solutions.

“Involving the local community in the planning of activities offers you the possibility of networking with library users and local communities that you otherwise would not reach. Such cooperation means activating the local community, strengthening the importance of public space, addressing topics that are important for active citizenship and broadening perspectives by connecting different skills.”

Kranj City Library, Slovenia

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