DifferenceMaker

Idea Challenge Announcement

Spring 2015 Idea Challenge Information

The UMass Lowell Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship will host the Third Annual DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge on April 15, 2015. The goal of this 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 are asked to develop real solutions to real problems. They are then 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, hunger, regional unemployment, etc.

$35K-50K in prizes will be awarded to 10 UMass Lowell student teams that present the best ideas and strategies for addressing these timely social and business challenges. 

If you have an innovative idea for solving these types of problems, or want to work with others to try to figure these out, please consider forming a student team and entering the 2015 Idea Challenge coming this April. All student teams will receive guidance and coaching in refining their concept and final presentation. Please see our TeamMaker Platform for assistance in building your team, or joining a team.

The Third Annual DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge awards ceremony wil be held at University Crossing in Moloney Hall, Room 260 on April 15, 2015 from 5-9 p.m. 

2015 Dates

  • Jan. 29: 2015 Idea Challenge Kick-off and Idea Hackathon
  • Feb. 3: Workshop 1-Identifying Problems and Value Propositions 
  • Feb. 9: Idea Challenge Application Submission Deadline
  • Feb 11: Workshop 2-Assessing Opporunities 
  • Feb. 17: Workshop 3-Developing Business Models
  • Feb 21: Workshop 4-Overview of all Workshops and DifferenceMaker Method-Problem, Opporunity, and Business Model
  • March 2: Idea Plan submission due via online link (Link TBA) and PPT Rocket Pitch Presentation due by 5 p.m. to DifferenceMaker@uml.edu
  • March 9: Semi-Finalists are Announced
  • March 10: Workshop 5-Rocket Pitch Presentations
  • March 11-25: Advisory Sessions with DifferenceMaker Staff, Faculty Fellows and Mentors (schedule TBA)
  • March 27: Revised Idea Plan and Rocket Pitch Presentation due by 5 p.m. to DifferenceMaker@uml.edu
  • April 3: Preliminary Pitch-Off, 2:30-6pm in the Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center
  • April 15: 2015 Third Annual DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge, 5-9pm in University Crossing, Moloney Hall, Room 260

Eligibility

Challenge Details and Deadlines

Challenge Kick-off and Idea Hackathon  –  Jan 29
Idea Concept Development  –  February - March 2015
  • 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 is due via online link (link TBA) by March 2, 2015. 
  • PPT Rocket Pitch Presentation due by 5 p.m. March 2, 2015 via email to DifferenceMaker@uml.edu
  • 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 this years challenge. 
Idea Challenge Pitch Events 

Preliminary Pitch Off
April 3, 2015, 2:30-6 p.m. 
Location: Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center, North Campus
  • 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.
  • Feb 9: Idea Challenge application due online
  • March 2: Idea Plan submission due via online link (Link TBA) and PPT Rocket Pitch Presentation due by 5 p.m. to DifferenceMaker@uml.edu.  Example of Rocket Pitch
  • March 27: Revised/Final Rocket Pitch PPT Presentation and Idea Plan due to differencemaker@uml.edu (Please name submitted documents with your project's title)
  • April 3: Preliminary Pitch Off Event
  • April 10: Posters from all 10 finalist teams from Preliminary Pitch-off and any teams that want an opportunity to win "People Choice’s Award" submit to differencemaker@uml.edu (Please name submitted documents with your project's title)
  • April 15: Third Annual DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge 
Idea Challenge Finals Pitch Ceremony
April 15, 2015, 5-9 p.m.
University Crossing, Moloney Hall, Room 260
  • 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.

Prizes

A total of $35-50K in prizes will be awarded.