Top ideas for Microsoft Imagine Cup 2009 competition
Dear visitor: Please keep in mind that this post is originally from Vibor Cipan's personal blog, the name of which we eventually adopted as our company name together with its conveniently-named URL. We're keeping the posts on our official company blog for all the subscribers to Vibor's blog who have read and commented on his previous posts. Please be aware that this post represents Vibor's personal thinking few years ago and doesn't necessarily represent the opinions of the UX Passion as a company today.
If you need ideas for your Imagine Cup 2009 project, take a look here and see the list of 7 ideas for Imagine Cup invitationals. This year’s theme is “Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems facing us today.” and I’d like to try and help you with some suggestions.
As you can see theme is very broad. How to step up to the challenge and pick up the theme?
Here are just few suggestions you can try experimenting with:
- World poverty – Explore some new business models targeted at deprived parts of Earth, think about revenue sharing models, micro-credits…
- Hunger – Develop and think about new concepts appropriate for smaller communities in areas with lack of water and other resources, how can they produce and sell their products and make a decent living from that?
- Sustainability – How to develop community and society in general but without making harm to environment and other resources (think about small farms, recycle ideas, responsible usage of resources, fight against erosion and mudslides with some planning, urban development…).
- Gender equality – How to empower both genders in all areas of human work, try searching for comparative advantages from both genders, inspire yourself with great figures from history, develop resources for education on this matter…
- Fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases – This is a big one. Of course it is not expected from you to deliver the whole solution by yourself alone, but think about tools that might ease the work of doctors, improve the quality of service at hospitals, engage patients in their healing process, think about mathematical models for suppression of diseases, play with numerical methods and see how to visualize them and present them in great manner that is both easy to use and to understand.
- Climate change and challenges related to that – Mathematical and (geo)physical models, simulations or just awesome education tools for raising global awareness. Think about virtualization and all challenges that might bring in in reducing power consumption but in increasing computing power and development. (I would go and bet on that virtualization thing if I could compete again this year).
- Anything else that you just think it is great no matter it is not mentioned here (after all this is only my personal list shared with all of you – feel free to add to it in comments and I might event post follow-up on this one).
Bonus hint: Do not try to invent or to create problem – just find solution to existing one. Best tip I can share with you from my personal experience – talk with real people about their real problems and challenges they are facing. Go to NGO’s. eco and environmental organizations, local governments, hospitals. Talk to each and every person or organization you might find interesting. And always, really always, listen to them, and even if their problems might not look as appealing to you as you might expected – think about them more than once. Develop the idea, draw some sketches and then again – talk with them.
The United Nations has identified some of the hardest challenges in the world today in its Millennium Goals – look for links and other resources at the end of this article. Take a look at their United Nations Development Goals webpage.
This year is bringing some new invitationals: Mashup and Design.
Design is new, you say?
Well, at first, user interface design invitational for Imagine Cup 2009 was cancelled. And now, Microsoft is bringin’ design competition back. Design students from all over the world are happy again, and they can engage in some brainstorming and preparation of their designs. Since UX is my passion, you can be sure I will be keeping my eyes on everything that is happening in this particular invitational.
Just to share interesting news with you – I have heard that team Maksuz form Croatia is looking into creating some resources that they might end up sharing with other students into this competition – UXPassion.com will see what is going on and let you all know.
Anyways, stay tuned because I will do my best and try to cover as much about User Interface Design invitational I can. Feel free to send your suggestions and ideas in comments as well as any questions you might have. I will give you several more ideas on what can you do to improve your deliverables, suggest you some tools and technologies and of course, I will do my best to help you out with questions you might have.