How to Win

          • Become a finalist by coming up with a stand-out idea and Phase I submission.
          • Prepare for the 2024 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 poster presentation that clearly conveys how the idea solves a societal problem and how society benefits.
          • Attend the 2024 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 poster and a pitch presentation.
          • Interact effectively with STEM leaders and Congressional stakeholders at the poster session.
          • Deliver a strong pitch presentation about the project before a distinguished panel of judges at the 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 Innovation Boot Camp for finalists. One of these activities is a 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 poster session, and in convincingly conveying the merits, value, and potential of their ideas during the pitch presentation. These two events will be scored separately each accounting for half of the team’s total combined score. 

Poster Session and Reception

Student teams will prepare and bring posters to the CCIC Boot Camp as part of their participation in a national poster session and reception. The Student Poster session is traditionally held on Capitol Hill or at the U.S. Library of Congress. The poster session location will be shared with the acceptance letters to the finalist teams. 

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 visitors and actively listen to answers; and align their responses and interactions to the interests of the attendees?
  • Do the team’s interactions 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?

Boot Camp 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 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?