How to Win

          • Become a finalist by coming up with a stand-out idea and Phase I submission.
          • Prepare for the Virtual Innovation Boot Camp:
            • Begin focusing beyond the idea to explore its viability outside the lab, classroom, or workshop and understand how to make it desirable, available, and affordable in the real world.
            • Create a virtual poster presentation that clearly conveys how the idea solves a societal problem and how society benefits.
          • Attend the Virtual Innovation Boot Camp:
            • Learn to calibrate ideas to marketplace needs and opportunities.
            • Receive coaching and mentoring in:
              • Strategic communication,
              • Design-centered thinking, and
              • Identity and brand development.
          • Showcase your project and college, on a national stage, through developing a virtual poster and a pitch presentation.
          • Interact effectively with STEM stakeholders during the virtual poster session.
          • Deliver a strong pitch presentation about the project before a distinguished panel of judges at the Virtual Innovation Boot Camp.

Phase II Judging Criteria

Performing proficiently during two activities will be essential to securing a spot in the winner’s circle at the Virtual Innovation Boot Camp for finalists. One of these activities is a virtual poster session; the other is a pitch presentation. The overall effectiveness that finalist teams demonstrate through the combination of these two activities will determine the ultimate winner of this year’s challenge. In other words, a team must perform well at both activities to win.

A distinguished panel of judges will adjudicate both activities using criteria that assess the finalist teams’ abilities in skillfully representing their innovations during the virtual poster session, and in convincingly conveying the merits, value, and potential of their ideas during the pitch presentation. These two virtual events will be scored separately each accounting for half of the team’s total combined score.

Virtual Poster Session
Student teams will prepare a poster as part of their participation in a virtual poster session. Teams will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Does the team’s poster identify a societal need; demonstrate how the innovation satisfies this need; communicate the innovation’s novelty, feasibility, and viability; and substantiate the innovation’s ability to produce measurable benefits?
  • Does the team exhibit enthusiasm; knowledgeably represent the innovation; ask questions of virtual visitors and actively listen to answers; and align their responses and interactions to the interests of the attendees?
  • Do the team’s interactions in a virtual space convincingly champion their innovation’s value and significance; effectively explain the STEM behind, and the uniqueness of, their innovation; make clear how society benefits; express optimism and vision; reflect positively on their team and their institution; and convey a roadmap for moving the project forward?

Pitch Presentation
Student teams will be asked to create a 5-minute pitch presentation that demonstrates the team’s concept, followed by a 5-minute question and answer period from the judges. Teams will be provided with coaching, mentoring, and time to prepare and refine their pitch presentations as part of the Virtual Innovation Boot Camp agenda. The pitch presentations will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Does the presentation clearly identify the societal problem, need, or opportunity that the innovation addresses; concisely explain how the idea solves this problem, and succinctly convey the benefits the idea can or will produce?
  • Does the team tell a complete story that persuasively signals the idea’s novelty, feasibility, and viability; reveal the idea’s uniqueness, and differentiate it from other existing or possible approaches?
  • Does the team provide a roadmap for where they would like to take their innovation, signal its value in the marketplace, and actively urge the listener to support its further development?