top of page

About the TOM Global Innovation Challenge

About the GIC & FAQs

The annual TOM Global Innovation Challenge is a competition among teams who have a passion to design, engineer, and create technological solutions that help others.


Makers, engineers, students, designers, and care specialists will form teams that compete to create affordable, open-source solutions designed to address challenges people with disabilities are facing in their daily lives. Teams have the option to compete with new projects or submit existing solutions they previously developed.

This is the fourth annual TOM Global Innovation Challenge, since its start in 2021. This project was created to inspire the global maker movement, as well as the network of TOM communities worldwide, to use their skills to create meaningful open-source solutions for people with disabilities in their communities.


The GIC is a flagship annual program that contributes to TOM’s vision of creating thousands of open-source solutions, and by doing so will have the potential to help millions of people with disabilities around the world.

What should I do once I registered for the GIC?

Teams and individuals are free to start working on their projects by connecting with their team members, speaking with their Need Knowers, investigating the challenge, and start designing, developing, and documenting their solution. Upon registration teams should join the GIC group chat on WhatsApp to get access to announcements and the GIC support team. After the competition launch (Feb 11), teams will have access to live and recorded workshops and tutorials.

How do the Project Tracks work?

This year’s GIC includes multiple categories of projects, or “tracks:” Sports & Outdoors; Music & Arts; Emergency and Rehabilitation; Daily Living (general category). At registration, each GIC team must indicate the track that best fits their project. At the end of the competition the solutions will be evaluated and scored by the judges against other solutions in the same track. We will then give prizes to the best solutions in each track.

Do I need a team to register?

No - you may register as an individual. However, see below about working with a Need Knower.

Do I need a Need Knower?

Yes - your solution must be developed to directly solve a challenge presented by a Need Knower. It is OK if you do not have a Need Knower at the time of registration, but you must have one by the time you submit your concept. There will be tutorials to teach you how to effectively find and work with a Need Knower.

What is a Need Knower?

A Need Knower is an individual with a disability or someone with an intimate understanding of- and direct experience with- the need the solution is addressing (can be a parent, social worker, caretaker, etc.).

Is there a maximum number of participants in a team?

No. There is no limit to the number of members in your team.

Can we register with a pre-existing project?

Yes. If you have an existing solution that you developed, you may submit it to the competition. In order for existing projects to be considered, they must be documented and submitted using the TOM Project Editor.

Still have questions? Looking for help?

Send us an email to or join the GIC WhatsApp group chat after you register for the competition.


Click here to read the TOM Global Innovation Challenge Terms & Conditions.

bottom of page