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Judging the Imagine Cup International Competition

This was my third year participating as a judge in the Imagine Cup, an international student technology competition sponsored by Microsoft.

The Imagine Cup Innovation Competition is a global contest for the best new innovative software where the winning team will take home $50,000. The idea is to create a desktop or tablet project using Windows, or a mobile project using Windows Phone or a browser project using Windows Azure. The World Finals will be held in Seattle 2016.

This year I was a judge for the 2016 Big Idea: Plan Challenge. Competitors from around the world outline their plans for a software/hardware solution that is of game changing impact. I am not speaking about an application to enable better movie reviews or exchanging photos between friends. I reviewed ideas outlined by students that would impact the world wide transportation industry, health care in developed and undeveloped countries, and more. All of the plans would impact the quality of our life on this planet.

The ideas put together by these students we clear demonstrations of pure problem solving, unencumbered by the normal constraints we in business deal with today.

There were eight team submissions I reviewed. As I judge I was responsible for grading the plan submission in three major categories:

  • Concept – 30%
  • Research – 40%
  • Feasibility – 40%

Two of the teams made it to the next level. I was asked to provide those teams with guidance in the areas of: feedback on their concept, competition they should be aware of, important aspects to consider, relevant market trends, design issues and technical suggestions.

It is exciting to see the ideas our young people can dream of these days. I look forward to being a judge in next year’s competition.

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