034: SCALE Innovation Challenge

17 Jun 2019 | Guest Interviews, Podcast

034 - SCALE Innovation Challenge with Rosemarie Truman - The Retail Transformation Show with Oliver Banks

Publish Date

17 June 2019

Your Host

Oliver Banks


Innovation drives disruption. Innovation drives transformation. But, one of the hurdles with innovation is having the idea and getting it off the ground. So, the SCALE Challenge (Supply Chain And Logistics Enterprises), run by the Centre for Advancing Innovation and Rosemarie Truman will help you shortcut this and could lead to a host of new, astonishing, disruptive businesses.



The Centre for Advancing Innovation has been referred to as “Shark Tank on steroids” and “Tinder for startups.” In total, 9 entrepreneurs in Forbes’ “30 Under 30” have come through one of these innovation challenges set up and run by the Centre for Advancing Innovation. 

So, this could be your chance to change your future – and the whole world…

Find out more at ScaleChallenge.org

Or read my FAQs at the bottom of the page. 

Rosemarie TrumanIntroducing Rosemarie Truman

Rosemarie Truman is the CEO and Founder of the Centre for Advancing Innovation.

Previously, she was IBM’s Global Head of Innovation Strategy. Plus, she has over 25 years of experience with investing in innovation with Goldman Sachs, Oracle, and Ernst & Young and many more. 

Rosemarie has run a series of these style challenges and clearly understands the opportunities and potential pitfalls about starting up a successful business, centred around a disruptive innovation. 

Find Rosemarie on LinkedIn.

Who are the Centre for Advancing Innovation?

Centre for Advancing InnovationThe Centre for Advancing Innovation are a US based, non-profit organisation. They were founded by Rosemarie and her team. Their goal is to transform the world through innovation and inspire the future business leaders whilst doing it.

Here’s a short video showing why they have successfully launched so many disruptive and transformational businesses. (Please note, the video was produced for another health related challenge. The concept is the same but the subject manager is obviously different).


Up to now, the majority of the challenges have been medical or science based. Previous challenges have been looking to solve the world’s biggest health problems. For example, these past challenges have been aimed at curing cancer, understanding brains and even space exploration. 

The SCALE Challenge is, in my opinion, looking for innovation in the most commercially competitive market to date. Therefore, expect this to be a hotly contested programme with some big opportunities for the winners. 

What is the SCALE Challenge? 

The SCALE challenge stands for Supply Chain And Logistics Enterprises. It’s supported by the Walton Family Foundation, which is run by the family of Walmart founder Sam Walton. 

The SCALE Challenge is a global, innovation challenge to find the best and brightest people and match them with the best and brightest ideas and inventions. 

The big twist with the SCALE Challenge is that entrants get paired with an idea as part of the process. You don’t need to have had “that brainwave” before applying. In fact, you get a chance to win an invention that has already had millions of dollars of R&D investment up to now – but has remained unwanted before leaving. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

About the challenge

What are these inventions? In the podcast, Rosemarie Truman shared more about the background of how these inventions have been selected. Ideas include: drone deliver traffic management systems, advanced robotics, ultra manoeuvrable vehicles, and many more. There are 21 inventions in the SCALE challenge and you can read about them on the SCALE Challenge website.

Is this a solo competition? No, this is for teams because Rosemarie has seen that this is a critical success factor in building meaningful disruptive businesses. Perhaps you have a team already. Or maybe you don’t know anyone else and want to be assigned to another team? You can enter with friends or colleagues or as a solo entrant and get allocated into a team. The SCALE Challenge recognised our modern technology enabled world, so teams can be virtually distributed across the globe. 

What would I need to do in the competition? There are 3 basic phases:

  1. Entry to the competition. (Closes end August 2019).
  2. Develop an elevator pitch. The best teams as voted by the public go through to the final round. (Closes October 2019).
  3. Build the business case. (For judging in April 2020). 

Finally, the winners get the privilege of setting up a company to commercially deliver that invention to market. As mentioned in the podcast, the expectation is an investment of about 10-20 hours a week.

How do I win? There are 21 inventions to win. Plus, you can enter your own ideas. So, in total, there are essentially 22 winners – one per invention and one for the best overall. Each invention will have up to 10 competitive teams. 

Is this just about supply chain and logistics ideas? Yes! If you’re in any doubt, contact the team at ScaleChallenge.org.

About entering

How do I enter? Firstly, the SCALE Challenge is free to enter. You can enter at ScaleChallenge.org and look for the “Enter” button. On the “how did you hear about us” question, just remember to select “Oliver Banks” from the drop down box to secure your bonus coaching session with me.

Do I need an idea already? No, in fact, you can enter with or without an idea. Learn more about all of the inventions at ScaleChallenge.org/inventions. When you apply, you can either choose an idea or get paired to one. Up to you! 

I’m not ready. The Centre for Advancing Innovation have put together a comprehensive training and mentoring structure to accelerate and incubate these new entrepreneurs into world class business owners. But, don’t wait around to apply – once there are 10 teams competing for the same invention, that invention will be closed and you will have missed your opportunity. Whilst I can’t speak for the Centre for Advancing Innovation, it’s probably unlikely that there will be a second SCALE Challenge. (New challenges are on new topics or looking to solve new problems). 

I don’t know how to do any of this. Well, you’re in luck. Just by applying, you get access to the Centre for Advancing Innovation’s mini MBA training courses and mentoring programme. They’ll guide you through the process and equip you with the right skills that you need to be successful. 

Any other considerations? Actually, yes! One of the criteria to enter the SCALE Challenge is the need to have an artist. The Walton Family Foundation think that this creative element brings an “x factor” to new disruptive businesses. I think this is a really intriguing requirement and will definitely add that element of creativity that is essential for your success.

Good luck if you are entering the SCALE Challenge

Find out more and apply at ScaleChallenge.org

Remember to select “Oliver Banks” as how you heard about this. That way, you’ll register for a bonus coaching session that isn’t available to any other entrants. Do let me know if you’ve entered and why not share this on social media too. You could even invite your idea team members to apply too. 

I look forward to hearing from you on this. If you have any questions, please comment below, reach out to me on LinkedIn or email oliver.banks@obandco.uk.

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