In 2007, NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and Arts), sent out an open innovation challenge to the entire UK to reduce carbon emissions. A £1 million ($1.6 million USD) prize fund was set up which spurred community groups into action to tackle the problems of climate change.
By early 2008, 355 groups had suggested a variety of imaginative and practical ideas, but only 100 of the most promising were selected and given support to develop their ideas further. From this group, 10 finalists were selected who received funding and support to implement their plans over the course of a year. They were given until October 2009 to reduce CO2 emissions in their community. Three overall winners were chosen to share the prize money.
The open innovation challenge proved to NESTA that world-beating and ingenious environmental ideas are not just the preserve of scientists, politicians and international conferences, but can come from communities.