About the Ullarthon

What is the Ullarthon? 

The Ullarthon is an Icelandic wool-themed idea/invention marathon ("ull" = Icelandic for wool) hosted by the Icelandic Textile Center in collaboration with Innovation Center Iceland. Idea marathons are about finding innovative solutions to a specific challenge or topic, in this case: Icelandic wool. The Ullarthon aims to support sustainable wool innovation and product development, and help increase the value of Icelandic wool, especially the classes/categories least profitable today. (In our toolbox, you'll find more information on what exactly we mean by that.) 

The event will be held online from March 25 - 29, 2021, and is funded by the Agricultural Productivity Fund. 

Participants compete in four different categories ("challenges"): 

1)  Utilizing unprocessed wool
2) Wool mixes and blends
3) Product innovation
4) Digital solutions and traceability 

Where and when?

Registration starts on March 1 here on our website! The actual event will held from March 25 - 29, 2021 online. In April, our committee will evaluate submissions and choose their Top 5 finalists. From May 3-10, the Top 5 will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. The winners will be announced during DesignMarch, Reykjavík’s annual design festival, on May 20. 

Who can participate?

The Ullarthon is open to anyone. You should participate if you have an interest in Icelandic wool, natural resources, sustainability, circular economy, product development, or just a genuine curiosity about invention marathons! You can participate as an individual or a team (2-5 or more); joining forces with other participants e.g. with a different professional background and area of expertise isn't necessary, but could be a smart move. 

Who owns the copyright to my idea? (Intellectual property)

The participants and the winners of the Ullarthon own all rights to their own ideas. The organizers of the Ullarthon will not claim any rights to ideas or solutions developed during the event. We therefore also ask participants to take care not to pitch copyrighted material.

How do I participate?

To participate you need to: 

  • Sign up on our website by clicking the “Sign up!” button. Registration is open until March 27. It is important that all members of a team sign up as individuals. 
  • Join the Ullarthon Facebook group. It's where we will communicate during the Ullarthon, and where you can look for / find team partners. 
  • Form / join a team. Or not! You can compete as a team or on your own. 
  • Attend the Ullarthon from March 25 - 29 online and start thinking!
  • Turn in the final solution through the Textile Center / Ullarthon homepage on March 29 before 20:00.

How do I become part of a team?

If participants have formed teams prior to the start of the Ullarthon, that’s great! It is however important to remember that all teammates have to sign up individually through our website. Participants who have not formed teams can do so through the Ullarthon’s Facebook & group page - or contact us for help.

Can I use a pre-developed idea?

Participants can use previously developed ideas. However the final idea / product must be developed during the Ullarthon whilst also meeting the requirements for the chosen category.

Does it cost to participate?

No, it doesn’t cost anything to participate in the Ullarthon. It’s completely free. Prizes, however, will amount to 1,600,000 mio. ISK in total, so this might be worth your time!

Does my solution have to be in Icelandic?

No, participants are allowed to turn in their solution in either Icelandic or English. Information on our website and the Ullarthon’s social media is also accessible in both Icelandic and English. Icelandic lectures and presentations will be subtitled (as much as possible).

What are the criteria for judging? 

There are four competition categories ("challenges"). 

In the first category: "Utilizing unprocessed wool", we are looking for viable solutions for unprocessed wool and ideas that would help increase the value of Icelandic wool. By unprocessed, we mean wool before spinning. 

In the second category, "Wool mixes and blends", we are looking for new types of fibre or yarn. Which other Icelandic raw materials or biotextiles could be utilized to blend or mix with Icelandic wool? 

In the third category, "Product innovation", we are looking for ideas for new products inspired by Icelandic heritage and nature. Wool needs to be the main component, and digital and/or other textile technology should feature in the production process. 

In the fourth and last category, "Digital solutions and traceability", we are looking for new ways to sell Icelandic wool and wool products. The focus being on digital solutions and traceability ("from sheep to shop front").

In all categories, judges are looking for an innovative approach and solutions for Icelandic wool, especially the wool classes least profitable today. In addition, judges will be focusing on the following: 

  • Novelty factor and sustainability: What is new and exciting about the solution? Is it forward-looking and taking into account the principles of a circular economy? 

  • Feasibility: Is the solution feasible? Can it be realised, in Iceland, at this point in time? What are the financial needs? Is the business model presented in a clear, structured way (e.g. with the help of Business Canvas)?

  • Will the solution help increase the value of Icelandic wool? 

Please contact our project managers Jóhanna (johanna@textilmidstod.is) and Hulda (hulda@nmi.is) if you have any questions!