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Challenge Lab

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Delivered in partnership between Wicked Lab and Community Capacity Builders. 

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What is a Challenge Lab?

Challenge Lab stages 

Challenge Lab program


Challenge Labs are designed to tackle a specific wicked problem in a geographical community through the strengthening or creation of systems-aware social enterprises. Wicked problems are a unique type of complex problem: a complex social policy problem. This type of problem is hard to resolve as each wicked problem takes place within a unique context and has many interconnected causal factors. Examples of wicked problems include: long-term unemployment, climate change, food insecurity, ageing populations and homelessness.
A Challenge Lab has 3 key elements:

  • It targets a wicked problem in a geographical community

  • Builds the capacity of social entrepreneurs to develop or strengthen system aware social enterprises that address one or few casual factor of the target wicked problem

  • It incorporates a participatory budgeting process​ ​

Working in partnership with local or state government, Challenge Labs target one wicked problem in a community, and builds the capacity of its community to address this wicked problem. Community capacity building involves building the networks, organisation, attitudes, leadership and skills that allow communities to manage change and sustain community-led development. Challenge Labs do this through participants undertaking Community Capacity Builders three-unit Program for Social Entrepreneurs and connecting with other stakeholders that have an interest in the wicked problem in their community.

The Lab has three stages, including Form, Learn and Engage. Activities in these stages include:
Month 1-3

  • Form a Reference Group for the Challenge Lab that consists of stakeholders from the target community that have an interest in the Challenge Lab's target wicked problem

  • Obtain prizes for the Challenge Lab

  • Recruit participants for the Challenge Lab

Month 3-6

  • Participants undertake Community Capacity Builders Program for Social Entrepreneurs and use Wicked Lab's Tool for Systemic Change - Ecosystem Map feature to map their solution ecosystem

  • Mentors are recruited that have the knowledge and/or experience in the Challenge Lab's target wicked problem 

  • Program participants are matched to mentors

  • Participants theory of change, business model canvas and pitch deck are forwarded to their mentors

Month 6-8

  • Participant's initiatives are promoted to all stakeholders in the community that have an interest in the Challenge Lab's target wicked problem (the solution ecosystem)

  • Prizes are awarded through a participatory budgeting process with the winners decided by members of the community that have an interest in the wicked problem (the solution ecosystem)

If you are interested in delivering a Challenge Lab in your government area, send us an email.

Price are quoted by project and include: 


  • A Kick Start workshop (and resources) for the Reference Group to understand the Challenge Lab process

  • 4 mentoring sessions to support the 3 stages of the Lab: Form, Learn and Engage, and a post Lab follow up session

  • A 12-month License to the Tool for Systemic Change

  • Delivery of the Program for Social Entrepreneurs to 20 participants 

  • Micro online mentoring to support Lab coordinator and reference group through the duration of the Lab

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