Better Living Challenge

What is bespoke support

Every solution that enters the Better Living Challenge was at a different stage of maturity

A back-yard inventor may have had a great concept but needed technical and engineering support to create an advanced prototype. A product design company may have required legal support to deal with IP issues. Bespoke support was tailored to the needs of each winner.

We are passionate about ensuring that solutions with positive social impact make it into the marketplace. Throughout 2014, we built partnerships with support partners who helped to get the winning solutions to market.


  • Coaching
  • Mentoring
  • Business consulting
  • Legal and IP services
  • Engineering and product design assistance
  • Prototyping assistance
  • Market research and user feedback
  • Graphic design and website services
  • Marketing support
  • Linking to manufacturers
  • Linking to retailers
  • Negotiating retail contracts
  • Sales support


The Better Living Challenge was launched on 1 March and closed on 31 May 2014. A total of 130 entries were received across the three entry categories:

62 in Structural Home

49 in Comfortable Home

19 in Connected Home

A Selection Panel of 47 experts, academics and professionals in design, architecture, the built environment, product design and other disciplines assessed all 130 entries. The Selection Panel brought a wide variety of technical expertise and experience to the process of selecting a shortlist in each category. 

For the full list of the members of the Selection Panel, please visit here: for more information.

If you are showcasing a product, you will be asked to supply us with a sample of your product to form part of the exhibition.

If you are showcasing a prototype, you will need to supply us with an exhibition-quality prototype.

If you are submitting a plan for a service or system, high res explanatory diagrams will need to be submitted.

Congratulations! We look forward to working with you in the coming year or two to help you get your product to market, or increase its impact in the marketplace. The Better Living Challenge team will work with you to build a tailored programme of support to help you take your solution to the next level.

We will play a supportive and guiding role while you drive the process. We will assist you in accessing support you require, but you always drive the process. You therefore need time and capacity to ensure you gain maximum value from the award.

Judging Criteria

Green technology & sustainability

Show evidence that the solution uses sustainable materials, manufacturing methods and processes and that resources have been used efficiently to mitigate the negative impact on the environment. Entries need to demonstrate that thought has been given to the entire life-cycle of the product.

Human-centred design

Show evidence that research has been carried out with users to understand their needs, and that design solutions address these needs.

Affordability & business viability

Demonstrate a commitment to keeping price points accessible to low-income groups. Show that equal consideration has gone into design and business elements. Submit a basic costing breakdown and demonstrate that thought has been given to how the solution can be produced or rolled-out on scale.

Social impact

Does the solution improve living conditions?
Does it’s use lead to an incremental improvement in comfort levels and general well-being?

Good design

Is the design well considered and thought through?
Is form and function coherent?

Resources available to entrant

The material resources available to entrants were considered when comparing entries.


The judging panel was made up of a range of industry experts in design, architecture, manufacturing, engineering, the built environment and business.

Selection and Judging Process

  • March-May 2014: Entry period
  • June 2014: A selection panel reviewed all accepted entries and completed a first round of scoring against the judging criteria.
  • July 2014: Successful finalists were notified that their solution were to be exhibited at the Showcase. Finalists began to prepare their entry for exhibition.
  • October 2014: Finalists’ solutions were exhibited in the Better Living Challenge Showcase. A multi-disciplinary judging panel, made up of individuals with expertise in each of the categories, scored the finalists’ solutions at the Showcase. The Showcase also had a public voting system.
  • November 2014: The winners of the Better Living Challenge were announced.

The Showcase allowed users to test and vote for their favourite solutions.

Advisory Panel

  • Alastair Graham: City of Cape Town – VPUU project
  • Astrid Wicht: Architect and community development facilitator
  • Erica Elk: CCDI
  • Gillian Benjamin: CCDI
  • Gita Govern: CEO, ARG Design
  • Jenny Cargill: Special Advisor to the Premier
  • Mark Ruiwel: CEO, Ideso
  • Theo Jansen: CEO Alplas
  • Wikus van Niekerk: Director, Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies, Stellenbosch University
  • Waleed Adams: City of Cape Town: Human Settlements Department