The arts sector is facing a time of tremendous change – one that requires organizations to innovate and adapt, and to try things they’ve never done before.  The trouble with doing this kind of adaptive work is that all too often, organizations are limited to the ideas of the people in the room – the usual suspects.

That’s why we launched the 2013 Business Unusual National Challenge, to crowdsource bright minds in and outside the arts sector to tackle the most significant challenges facing organizations today. We’re talking about the kind of challenges that have no obvious solution, no set procedures, and no recognized experts – we call these adaptive challenges.

From March through October of this year, we’ll gather adaptive challenges from all corners of the country, invite you to vote to determine five Finalists, source provocative new ideas from an exciting group of big thinkers, specialists, and ArtsFwd readers, and ultimately, one organization will win a package of grants and resources worth $35,000 to prototype an innovative new approach.

Download the Press Release

Phase 1: A national call for adaptive challenges

March 20– May 9, 2013: Arts and culture organizations from across the country will be invited through an open call on ArtsFwd to submit a description of their most significant adaptive challenge.

Completed! The call for entries to the Challenge is now closed.

Phase 2: Selecting finalists

May 15 – June 1, 2013: ArtsFwd readers will vote to determine the top five Finalists.

Completed! The public voting on Challenge Semi-Finalists is now closed. 7 Finalists were announced on Friday, June 7th. Read our update for more information about the selection of Finalists.

Phase 3: Crowdsourcing bold new approaches

June 19 – July 25, 2013: Big thinkers, leaders in the field, and ArtsFwd readers will be invited to contribute inspirations and ideas in response to the Finalists. Read the 7 Finalist entries and contribute here.

Download Press Release about Crowdsourcing

Completed! The crowdsourcing phase is officially over. You can continue to read about each of the 7 Finalists’ Challenge projects here. In the coming weeks, Finalists will integrate their learnings from the crowdsourcing phase into a final proposal, which will then be submitted to a panel of experts who, along with EmcArts staff, will determine a Winner in the fall.

Phase 4: Determining a winner

September 15 – October 15, 2013: A panel of outsiders and EmcArts staff will determine a Winner, who will receive a package of grants and facilitation worth $35,000 for prototyping a new approach to their adaptive challenge. The winner will be announced in Fall 2013.