Idea Challenge Announcement
Spring 2014 Idea Challenge Information
The UMass Lowell Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship will be hosting the second annual DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge this spring, 2014. The goal of the Idea Challenge is to engage UMass Lowell students in creative and innovative problem solving around major issues that affect our region and our future.
Student teams will be asked to develop real solutions to real problems. They will then be coached and guided to present a concept proposal for a needed service, product or business that addresses a real world challenge such as climate change, access to health care, support for the arts, cyber security, regional unemployment, etc.
$25-50K in prizes will be awarded to UMass Lowell student teams that present the best ideas and strategies for addressing these timely social and business challenges.
If you have innovative ideas for solving these types of problems, or want to work with others to try to figure this out, please consider forming a student team and entering the next Idea Challenge coming this spring. All student teams will receive guidance and coaching in refining their concept and final presentation.
The DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge awards ceremony will be held at the Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center located on north campus on April 15, 2014 from 6-9 p.m.
- Jan. 27 and 28: $25k Idea Challenge Kick-off events (see below)
- Feb.-March: Workshop Event Series
- Feb. 24: Idea Challenge Application Submission Deadline
- March 28: Idea Plan submission due by 5 p.m.
- March 31-April 2: Rocket Pitch Coaching
- April 4: Preliminary Pitch-Off at Saab Center on North Campus, 2:30-6 p.m.
- April 15: DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge, Saab Center on North Campus, 6-9 p.m.
- Applicants must be UMass Lowell students (graduate or undergraduate) or have graduated from the University within the past year.
- UMass Lowell students or recent alumni must take a leadership role in developing, presenting and implementing the concept and proposed solution.
- Students are encouraged to form interdisciplinary teams, meaning students from different majors should work together in developing and implementing the solution. If you haven’t yet connected with team members from other majors, we will help facilitate this.
Challenge Details and Deadlines
Challenge Kick-off Events
Jan. 27 and 28, 2014
- Come learn more about the DifferenceMaker Challenge. Kick-off events on North and South Campus will explain the Idea Challenge, highlight current student DifferenceMaker projects and allow you to share your idea with other UMass Lowell students.
- Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014
- Applications must be submitted via the Idea Challenge Application.
- Finalists will be chosen from the pool of applicants and notified.
Idea Concept Development
- All student teams will be introduced to the Problem-Opportunity-Solution-Resources approach to problem solving. A series of workshops are scheduled to help teams examine their selected problem, explore the opportunity, develop possible solutions and identify needed resources.
- Idea Plan submission due by 5 p.m. March 28, 2014
- Each team must submit their proposed solution in an Executive Summary format, along with a concise PowerPoint Pitch Deck. This is an absolute deadline. Teams submitting plans past the deadline will not be included in the competition.
Idea Challenge Pitch Events
Preliminary Pitch Off
April 4, 2014, 2:30-6 p.m.
Mark and Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center, Atrium and Rooms 245, 345, and 445
- Each team will present a pitch describing their problem and proposed solution before a panel of alumni judges. Each presentation will be followed by a brief Q&A session with the judges. The judges will convene to select the finalists for the Idea Challenge Event.
- March 24: Preliminary Rocket Pitch PPT Presentation (ready for the Rocket Pitch coaching on March 24 and 25) Example
- March 28: Final Rocket Pitch PPT Presentation and Idea Plan submission is due to firstname.lastname@example.org (Please name submitted documents with your project's title)
- April 10: Posters from all 9 finalists from Preliminary Pitch-off and any teams that want an opportunity to win "People Choice’s Award" submit to email@example.com (Please name submitted documents with your project's title)
- TBD: E-portfolio for best portfolio award
- Each team needs to email Ha_Pho@uml.edu with 1 UMass Lowell student e-mail/team. Ha will create a log in account as soon as possible
- Create e-portfolio according to the tutorial manual
- Submit the link to firstname.lastname@example.org and CC Ha_pho@uml.edu
Idea Challenge Finals Pitch Ceremony
April 15, 2014, 6-9 pm
Mark and Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center, Atrium
- Selected finalist teams will present a pitch describing their problem and proposed solution before a panel of alumni judges. Each presentation will be followed by a brief Q&A session with the judges. The judges will select the winners of the Idea Challenge Event and prizes will be awarded.
A total of $25-50K prizes will be awarded.