Northern Indiana Innovation Competition

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Over the last week or so, my time has been full of work, school, and preparation for the 2014 Northern Indiana Innovation Competition. Nevertheless, my one post per day goal was shattered for this month but it will be postponed to another month which is less busy. 

In October, I submitted four innovation ideas to the competition screening board. There were over 90 submissions in total. Out of those, two of my submissions were selected to be in the semifinals. Only 16 submissions were chosen. 

Therefore, I have been working on my innovation projects, researching, putting together plans, creating presentations, designing PowerPoints, and practicing. It has been a whirlwind. 

At the semifinals, I presented one innovation alone and had a friend help me present the other. After presenting, there was a 15 minute q and a which was much more in depth and important than the presentation. The judges were industry professionals and gave us constructive criticism for each project. At the end of the semifinals, we were awarded certificates from making it into this level and then we were told that one of my projects was selected to go to the finals.

Only four projects were selected for the finals. The competition was the next morning and open to the public. The night prior, I used the advice given to us at the semifinals to tweak the project and make it even more attractive. At the finals, my partner and I presented and had a similar q and a. However this time the questions were much more difficult. They were focused on the biggest flaws of the project and how to bring it to the market. 

We were the first group to present which was nerve-racking but better in the long run. After presenting, we could sit back and watch the other projects without any nerves. During the awards assembly,, we were surprised to win the grand prize since we were up against such great ideas. 

Overall, this competition was an amazing experience. I was able to work on a project outside of a class environment and not judged based on a rubric. The best experience was talking to the judges, working through difficult q and a sessions, taking valuable advice, and then networking with the judges afterward. 

I now have many opportunities due to the networking at this competition. My number one piece of advice is to always thank your judges and ask for business cards. Be sure to bring your own to hand out if you have any!  

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