The Social Logistics Challenge

Quick Links

2021 Teams

2022 Judges


Maddie Handler, Program Coordinator

Top 5 Teams

(in no particular order)

University of Ibadan and The Enugu State University of Science and Technology


University of Ghana and University of Calgari


University of Leeds

United Kingdom

Vienna University of Economics and Business


Asian Institute of Management


In the wake of COVID-19 in 2020, GBSN pivoted to the online conference GBSN Beyond Virtual Conference.  With the HUMLOG Institute at Hanken School of Economics, the team introduced the HUMLOG Challenge: a solution-based virtual team competition. The Challenge that was presented to students was to identify a systematic supply chain issue within the local community and suggest an innovative solution that would help alleviate medical and/or food supply chain disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic

In 2021, the GBSN team continued with the GBSN Beyond Virtual Conference, and again worked with the HUMLOG Institute to bring students the HUMLOG Challenge.  2021’s competition posed students to develop solutions around community disaster resilience. Students were prompted to choose a natural disaster relative to their geographical region and address the community’s preparedness response and level of resilience.

Both 2020 and 2021 demonstrated the incredible potential for business students within the network to develop engaging and creative solutions in regards to humanitarian logistics: a branch of logistics dealing with the preparedness and response of a disaster management system.  In year one, that disaster was COVID-19 and in year two, that disaster had to be a natural disaster.

In 2022, students will be challenged with the fundamental reminder of the definition of logistics: coordinated separate activities which combine to one organized movement of goods, services, and people.  This challenge incorporates this essential philosophy of logistics into the new and innovative study of social logistics, which aims to introduce a social (human) factor in the systems and to apply logistics principles and methods in solving problems within society.

The shift from the HUMLOG Challenge to the Social Logistics Challenge is a demonstration of the development of the competition.  Social Logistics is both a new frontier and a unique opportunity for business students to truly interact with other disciplines and utilize one another’s expertise to create business solutions with a focus on social responsibility and awareness. Through this Challenge, students will learn that social logistics aims to introduce a social (human) factor in the systems and to apply logistic principles and methods in solving the problems of society.

Award Policy

The winning team will be awarded $5,000 in scholarship and/or education-based money and to be split equally among the students on the team. The award money will be transferred through the students’ respective institution’s financial aid department and will be applied to the tuition of the winning team members. For more clarification or questions, please email Maddie Handler at This money can be used to fund school projects, go to housing, or assist with tuition.

GBSN hopes to leverage the strengths of Social Logistics, which includes the traditional supply chain knowledge and humanitarian logistics, while also incorporating communication, programming, and technology.  The Social Logistics Challenge will continue the tradition of a team-based virtual competition, which encourages cross-disciplinary and multi-university collaboration. 

Inclusive in this experience will be student-only networking sessions and open office hours for the GBSN team and experts to assist students in solution development. This virtual competition will also include in-person components, if possible, including a live panel of preliminary and final round judges.

How does it work?

Register and submit by October 20th.

We encourage multi-disciplinary, teams of 2-5 students from different schools disciplines, and levels. Schools are welcome to have more than one team.

Identify a local problem.

Utilize your logistical knowledge and training to improve a societal access problem.  Be sure to identify the community of this problem, the multiple stakeholders involved, and most importantly, how this solution supports one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Identify a local problem.

Develop your solution.

Develop a unique and implementable solution that can be used in a locally-relevant context. Demonstrate that solution in a creative format. Please submit by October 20th 8AM EDT.

Develop your solution.

The Challenge.

Identify and define a social logistics problem or challenge within a community and develop an implementable business solution that addresses the problem. Social logistics introduces a social (human) factor in systems and applies logistics principles and methods in solving problems within society. The Solution Package should illustrate local relevance to its community, what stakeholders are involved, and most importantly, how this solution supports one or more of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.


Each team will prepare a Solutions Package that will incorporate both written and visual elements. Teams will submit a written report and a visual creative illustration.

Due Thursday, October 20 8AM EDT

Solution Package

Written Report.

The written report must be no longer than 5 pages in length (double spaced) and must be in English or with English translations. It should be submitted as a PDF and should be separated into the following:

  • Problem Statement: 
    • Understanding the problem as it relates to its context.
    • Proof of research
  • Solution Development and Implementation
  • Define the UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

Solution Package

Creative Illustration.

Illustrations could include any digital format, such as videos, powerpoint presentations, interviews, podcasts, etc. They can be submitted in PowerPoint, Google Slides, MOV, MP4, JPEG, and PNG. Teams are encouraged to think out of the box, engage local participants in their field work, and capture local perspectives from key stakeholders. However, the illustration must be in English or with an English translation and if videos are submitted, they must be limited to 3 minutes in length. Students must identify the following:

  • The region represented
  • Problem identified
  • Proof of research
  • The solution and implementation plan

Judging Criteria

Each solutions package should illustrate and consider the following:

  1. The solution must solve a problem related to access
  2. The solution must clearly demonstrate components of logistic studies including, but not limited, to supply chain management
  3. The solution must benefit society whether on a local or cross-border scale
  4. The solution must demonstrate a clear understanding of multiple channels and stakeholders involved in the implementation
  5. The solution must clearly and actively incorporate one or more of the 17 SDGs

Judging Process

Judging for this competition will happen in two phases. Preliminary judging that determines the Top Five teams, and the Final judging that determines the overall winner. Preliminary judges will review all submitted deliverables to ultimately determine the following:

  • How well your team describes the problem and its local relevance
  • Whether or not your team demonstrates creativity
  • Whether or not the solution your team develops is feasible
  • How your solution addresses one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals
Team MIT Sloan presentation in 2021 HUMLOG Challenge.

The top 5 student teams will present their projects live to a panel of international judges. 

10-minute pitch presentation delivered LIVE to judges.

  • All team members must participate in the LIVE pitch for the team to be eligible to win the prize. Participation is defined as a minimum of 1 minute of speaking during the presentation. 
  • Teams can include supplemental materials to support their LIVE presentations in the finals round, including their creative illustration.

A 15-minute Q&A with the judges.

  • All team members must be present for the LIVE pitch presentation and virtual Q&A.
  • Judge and team participation will be moderated by a GBSN staff member to keep time and ensure equal distribution of participation between judges and teams.
  • The LIVE Pitch Presentations and Q&A portion will be recorded and broadcasted LIVE for the public to watch.

*The GBSN Team will be providing “open office” hours and rehearsals for teams.

Examples of Qualifying Solutions

The following are a few examples of qualifying social logistics solutions:

Example 1

As GBSN has learned from working with CIPE in Papua New Guinea, starting a business is challenging due to economic climate, government regulations, and local support. A student team from PNG could develop a solution surrounding logistically establishing a business incubation site in their local community.

Example 2

Ethiopia is a large producer of honey wine, known as Tej, however, local sellers are having difficulty storing and selling large quantities to wholesalers, especially in the current war-torn environment. Student teams could collaborate to configure a plan for mass production of Tej to assist their local economies, while keeping the businesses safe.

Example 3

Crane and Company has been providing paper for the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing since the late 17th century.  As the digital age becomes more apparent and less businesses take cash, there are several problems that can arise.  Several emerging economies, especially in the Caribbean and Latin America still rely on the US dollar for forms of payment. How can students find a solution to help the printers, distributors, and users of cash?

Example 4

Even in very economically developed countries, such as Australia, people become equal in the wake of climate change. Floods, droughts, and wildfires are among the largest forces to affect Australia’s natural habitat. How can students develop a safety preparedness logistics solution to protect the natural environment in the event of these wild occurrences and keep people safe?

Example 5

In the United States, school and mass shootings have unfortunately become widely prevalent. California has set itself apart with more shootings than any other state. A logistical solution could explore the supply chain of guns in specific cities within the state, including a look into which stores are selling weapons, and how they are abiding by the law. 

Example 6

As we all know, the invasion of Ukraine has affected nations across the globe, especially in neighboring European countries.  As countries, such as Germany, are sanctioning Russian oil, there is a massive effect on transportation within the country.  German students could look into alternative transportation logistics or even gas/oil supply chains within their communities that do not support the war.

Example 7

Education in several countries in Africa is a challenging feat, but especially in territories affected by militias and war, such as in Northeastern Nigeria, affected by Boko Harem. How can students come together to develop a solution that helps children in these areas achieve education safely?

Example 8

In the Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, refugees depend on food assistance, usually in the form of vouchers.  Oftentimes, these are not always the most nutritious foods, rather they are inexpensive and easy to ship.  What solutions can be developed by teams to provide nutritionally sustainable foods to these camps?