Idea Challenge Announcement
The DifferenceMaker team is currently in the process of developing events and workshops for Fall 2013, as well as the next Idea Challenge, which will take place in Spring 2014. Please stay tuned to learn more about these exciting upcoming events!
Spring 2013 Idea Challenge Information:
The UMass Lowell Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship hosted the first annual DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge
(pdf) in Spring 2013. 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.
In this first Challenge, student teams were asked to develop real solutions to real problems. Students were asked 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.
$25,000 in prizes was awarded to UMass Lowell student teams that presented 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 Challenge. All student teams will receive guidance and coaching in refining their concept and final presentation.
Due to the overwhelming responses we had in the Idea Challenge applications, we held a preliminary presentation on April 12 at the Mark & Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center (ETIC) on North Campus. This determined the teams that proceeded on to the Idea Challenge.
The DifferenceMaker $25K Idea Challenge awards ceremony was held at the ETIC building on April 17, 2013.
- April 4: Rocket pitch coaching
- April 8: Submission of three deliverables (executive summary and PowerPoint presentation pitch via email and poster in person)
- April 12: Preliminary pitch-off at Saab Emerging Technology and Innovation Center on North Campus, 3:30 - 6:30 p.m.
- April 17: DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge, Saab Emerging Technology and Innovation Center on North Campus, 6 - 8:30 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.
2013 Challenge Details and Deadlines
Challenge Kick-off Events – Jan. 28, 29
- Come learn more about the DifferenceMaker Challenge. Kick-off events on North and South campus will explain the Challenge, highlight current student DifferenceMaker projects and allow you to share your idea with other UMass Lowell students.
- Applications due by 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, 2013
- Applications must be submitted via the DM website.
- Finalists will be chosen for the pool of applicants and notified.
Idea Concept Development – Jan. through March 2013
- All student teams will be introduced to the Problem-Opportunity-Solution-Resources approach to problem solving. A series of workshops is 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. April 12, 2013
- 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 Event – April 17
- Each team also will present a three minute 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 make final prize award decisions later this evening.
A total of $25,000 prizes awarded.