DEEP – Water Well-being Challenge 16.-18.11.

Water is the crown jewel of the Nordic nature. From the Baltic Sea to trickling streams, the purist lakes, and flowing rivers, the Nordic countries have water resources unlike any other part of the world. Yet, most of these resources remain under-used – or are used in an unsustainable way. With new solutions, these unique bodies of water could become a shared fountain of physical and mental well-being. They could foster both communality amongst the locals and new tourism.

To increase water-based well-being, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and Helsinki Think Company, in collaboration with Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS), introduced DEEP – Water Well-being Challenge 16–18 November 2018 at Think Corner in Helsinki. The two challenges brought together academics from multiple disciplines and actors from the public, private, and third sector to co-create solutions for well-being and sustainable business from lakes, rivers or the Baltic Sea.

DEEP Challenge was organized for the second time. In February 2018, DEEP – Baltic Sea Challenge focused on creating new business solutions for a cleaner Baltic Sea. This time DEEP – Water Well-being Challenge called for applications from groups and individuals ready to create concrete solutions for the two different challenges.




Challenge 1: Blue services brought together entrepreneurs, service-users and researchers to develop sustainable new services and business concepts for enhancing human well-being based on water/aquatic environments. The participants applied by themselves or with 2–5 person teams with a pre-existing idea. The solutions for services ranged from everyday life to recreation, education and care.

Challenge 2: Blue access brought together experts from various fields to envision policies and plan models to tackle the issue of accessibility, taking into account the principles of sustainability. The participants applied as individuals and were then divided into teams. No existing ideas were required on this track as all the participants needed was a passion for increasing the citizens’ accessibility to water environment.

In this challenge, the teams worked together to reform the policies and planning in the use of water environment. Their solutions could revolve around any of the following themes: 1) Care & Social Inclusion  2) Education  3) Housing & Work 4) Recreation & Tourism


DEEP supported all teams with tailored mentoring from dedicated content matter experts sourced from our large networks. In the three-day challenge weekend culminating in a pitching final, the best three teams of the Blue Services challenge were granted with prizes of 1 500, 1 000 and 500 euros as well as networking opportunities. All of the teams gained new contacts and tools to make a real impact!

Blue Access challenge teams got their solutions published in “Water and Well-being: Streams in Research and Practices”.


DEEP – Water Well-being Challenge was aimed for all innovators; our participants were students from undergraduate to PhD level and recently graduated, blue well-being entrepreneurs and service providers as well as for those with business prospects related to blue well-being.

The winner of the whole challenge was Blue Sea Weed, a company who wanted to bring the growing of edible seaweed to the shores of the Baltic Sea. Placed second in the challenge, Suuri Sininen, an educational and interactive platform for ages and backgrounds. Third place went to, a solution that combined both effective advertising and free access water.

You can read all about the results of autumn’s DEEP challenge from this blog post.


TUE 25/10
Application deadline
WED 7/11 17:00-19:00, Tiedekulma
Afterwork Mingle
FRI 16/11 17:00-22:00, Tiedekulma
Workshop day. Challenges are presented and defining the problem begins.
SAT 17/11 10:00-21:00, Tiedekulma
Workshop day. Finding the solutions, pitch training.
SUN 18/11 10:00-14:00, Tiedekulma
Workshop & brunch.
SUN 18/11 14:00, Tiedekulma