Imagine Cup: It is the Home Stretch!


Imagine Cup 2015 has been announced. If you are a Canadian Student and not participating in the Global Student Technology Competition, you are missing out! In this blog post, I will discuss specific details about the Innovation Category.

If you missed the previous blog posts, you can read them here:

Although it is said that innovation doesn’t happen under pressure and deadlines, the Canadian deadline of 8 PM GMT Saturday April 4th, 2015 for the Imagine Cup is fast approaching! I will share a few tips that can help you improve your chances.

When you enter Imagine Cup, there is a clear scoring matrix. You should read, read again, read a third time this matrix in the Innovation Competition rules. When the judges review your video and project proposal, they will score you based on that matrix. Each question in that matrix is worth points. You have probably spent a lot of time getting your software up and running which is great! As you decide how to prioritize your time over these last weeks, you should take a look at the matrix and ask yourself where are the opportunities to improve your score?

Give a group of friends the matrix and present your project to them. Give yourself only 10 minutes to present. Now ask them to score you on each individual question in the matrix. You may discover a couple of questions where you score 0 or 1 that you can improve simply by adding a bullet point to a slide or by doing a little research. The software is important! But great software does not always equal success! The world is littered with social networks that failed, with apps that get little downloads, make sure you put some decent effort into your presentation.

Does the project have a clear target market or audience? – Sure your software is cool, but who is your target audience? Have you stated that clearly? Have you explained why this software will appeal to that audience? Imagine you are pitching to an investor; what information will quickly tell him you have a solution to a problem that exists and you have what it takes to get there.

Did you get market validation for your project such as customer surveys, focus group tests, an active beta-test program, recommendations from subject-matter experts or potential investors? You had a few friends try it out, why not set up something a little more formal, or talk to an expert and get a few quotes on why they think you are on the right track.  If your focus group or expert says ‘change this’ and you don’t have time before the deadline, you can always talk to that in your presentation in your ‘future plans’.

Don’t miss out!

You can find all details such as important dates, registration and rules at www.imaginecup.ca. Please reach out to ImagineCupCanada@microsoft.com or me @RamiSayar if you have any questions. Looking forward to all your submissions and good luck

 

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