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From the Skoll Centre blog: The Global Challenge, A Rigorous Approach to Solving Global Issues

Anisha Gururaj is studying an MRes in the Medical Sciences Division, at the University of Oxford. In June 2016, she and her teammate, Ashley Pople, DPhil in Economics at University of Oxford, won our inaugural Oxford Global Challenge competition. Their topic? Maternal Depression. Anisha describes her account of the competition, how she found her topic and the benefits of undertaking the Challenge.

There are few opportunities where the incentives to be most effective and also do the right thing are aligned. The Global Challenge is one of these initiatives, because it provides the chance—the imperative, really—to delve into the contextual landscape of a problem and the existing solutions as we know them.

I was missing a more holistic understanding, a bigger picture of how solutions to global problems fit into global societal structures.

As it happens, this is the reason I came to Oxford. As an undergrad engineering student, I loved the idea of designing technological solutions to solving problems in global health. But after working on a few projects and actually engaging in fieldwork for low-cost diagnostic devices, I felt that I was missing a more holistic understanding, a bigger picture of how solutions to global problems fit into global societal structures…

Read Anisha’s full article on the Skoll Centre blog

Problem Mapping Examples

Hi everyone!

Almost at the deadline for submissions! Here are some further resources to inspire some different problem mapping approaches.

The following report extracts, prepared by current MBA students from the University of Oxford – Saïd Business School, provide examples of how the ecosystem of a problem and key stakeholders can be visualized.  

Example 1: Increasing access to water in Mumbai slums (Prepared by Molly Shaw, Tilman Melzer, Matthew Williams, Ahana Dwivedi, Sumeet Sarangi, and Lu Zheng)

View example

Example 2: Arsenic Poisoning in Bangladesh (Prepared by Nicholas Dunford, Andrea Coulis, Wayne Moodley, Sugam Taneja and Weerawat Wongcharoenyai)

View Prezi presentation 

Example 3: Below The Surface – Water In London (Prepared by Nicholas Ingle, Wataru Matsumoto, Di Qi, Chris Forrer, Adnan Al-Khatib and Parag Kulkarni)

View example

Impact Gaps Canvas

This ‘Impact Gaps Canvas’ was designed by Skoll Centre Deputy Director, Daniela Papi-Thornton, as part of her research for the Clore Social Leadership Programme.

This canvas is a tool to help you ask the questions you might want to consider in creating your entry for the Challenge. By asking questions related to the challenge landscape (questions about the problem and its impact as well as what might be holding the current status quo in place) and the solutions landscape (what is already being tried and what has or hasn’t worked) you can then identify gaps where the solutions are failing to meet the problems.

Click the image to view larger version and right-click to download.

You can use this tool to help guide your research, but don’t let it restrict your creativity and thought processing! You will likely want more room to spread out your findings in the problem and solutions landscapes and make use of additional resources.

Mapping the landscape of existing organisations

An excellent example of ecosystem mapping is available in the article by Paul Bloom & Gregory Dees “Cultivate Your Ecosystem”, published in the Stanford Social Innovation review.

Click on the image above to view a PDF of the article with the relevant images.

Another conceptualisation of social entrepreneurial ecosystems is available on the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation website.

Here are some further examples of charts which show the organisations operating in a sector and the relationships between them.

Using Mindmeister

MindMeister is a free, easy to use “mind mapping” tool. It can be used to structure your initial research, or to generate visuals for your final submission.

Other types of sector and stakeholder maps


Using LucidChart

Originally designed as a workflow mapping tool, Lucidchart is another useful tool for diagramming networks, actors, and relationships.