When you sign on to help with a challenge, you open yourself up to a variety of people, opportunities and interest areas.
Sometimes, you may be asked to develop a fun, educational app or design a multimedia project. Other times, you may be asked to join the fight against modern-day slavery.
The Partnership for Freedom Rethink Supply Chains Challenge called on citizens to do the latter.
A public-private partnership featuring several federal agencies and industry players, the Partnership for Freedom sought technological solutions that could help identify and address labor trafficking in global supply chains.
The winners were announced in May.
The winning team received $250,000 to put toward its solution, a digital risk assessment tool that will help seafood suppliers and major retailers better identify areas within a supply chain at risk for forced labor.
The second-place team came up with a mobile phone-based system that improves visibility of trafficked workers by collecting and analyzing feedback received by workers on an anonymous two-way communication channel. The runner-up received a $50,000 grant — no small potatoes there.
In addition to the very real and widespread problem it addresses and the sizeable prize purse, this competition showed what can happen when participants with good ideas go beyond competition and work together.
The winning team was a partnership between two organizations — they saw the problem, determined how each could contribute and decided to join forces to propose their solution.