DifferenceMaker

Idea Challenge Announcement

Spring 2014 Idea Challenge Information

The UMass Lowell Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship hosted the second annual DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge on April 15, 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 were asked to develop real solutions to real problems. They were then coached and guided to present a concept proposal for a needed service, product or business that addressed a real world challenge such as climate change, access to health care, support for the arts, cyber security, regional unemployment, etc.

$35K in prizes was awarded to 14 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 Idea Challenge coming this spring 2015. All student teams will receive guidance and coaching in refining their concept and final presentation.

The DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge awards ceremony was held at the Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center located on north campus on April 15, 2014 from 5-9 p.m. 

2014 Dates

  • 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 and PPT Rocket Pitch Presentation due by 5 p.m.
  • March 24 and 25: 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, 5-9 p.m.

Eligibility

  • 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  –  January 27 and 28, 2014
Idea Concept Development  –  February and March 2014
  • 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 and PPT Rocket Pitch Presentation 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
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.
Idea Challenge Finals Pitch Ceremony
April 15, 2014, 5-9 p.m.
Mark and Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center, Atrium 
North Campus
  • 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 $25-50K prizes will be awarded.

Please check back soon for 2015 Idea Challenge information and dates.