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Competition showcases student innovation

Monday, January 2, 2018

The Innovation Challenge student innovation competition is scheduled for spring semester and is open to all NDSU students who have an innovative idea for a potential business or want to join an innovation team.

The 2018 program begins with a brainstorm session on Jan. 11, where students meet to develop ideas. That is followed by a series of events that help students refine their ideas and prepare pitches for judges. The competition culminates on April 17, when the winners are announced at an awards ceremony and receive cash prizes.

Students have the opportunity to compete in one of three categories:

  • Products – creating and selling a physical item
  • Services – finding ways to help someone else do something better
  • Social Impact – changing public view or developing a non-profit organization

The Innovation Challenge program encourages innovative thinking and the entrepreneurial spirit. It is sponsored by the NDSU Research and Technology Park and the Office of the Provost to help build a diverse economic foundation for the future of our community, the state and the nation.

Major Innovation Challenge events and deadlines:

Jan. 11: Bison Brainstorm
Students meet to brainstorm and develop ideas. This is also an opportunity to meet people to form teams.

Jan. 16: Innovation Pitch Night
Students have 60 seconds to sell an idea as they would for a potential investor or customer. Innovation Pitch Night is open to all students. The event includes free pizza and chances to win tablet computers.

The Innovation Challenge is a student innovation competition. Participants receive coaching and feedback to develop ideas and networking opportunities. They also have opportunities to practice professional skills, such as teamwork, public speaking and persuasive communication. Winning teams receive cash prizes.    

Jan. 23: Innovation Challenge registration closes
Register at

Jan. 24, Feb. 21, March 22: Innovation Boot Camps
Jeffery Stamp, founder and chief storyteller at Bold Thinking LLC, leads innovation boot camps. He helps students discover how to identify promising ideas and bring them through the innovation process to their fullest realization.

Jan. 26: Innovation Proposals Due
A written description of the proposed innovation must clearly tell what the innovation is and how it is unique. It should describe the impact on the world or industry. After reading it, can a judge or customer define the innovation?

Jan. 29 to Feb. 9, March 5 to 9, March 26 to 29: Development Meetings
Teams meet with the Research and Technology Park personnel to discuss project development, current stage, sustainability and practicality of their projects.

March 21: Semifinals
Teams use visual aids, such as prototypes, mock-ups, videos, screen shots, slides, working demos and posters, to show their progress and to get feedback from the judges.

March 21: Project Showcase
All the semi-finalists’ presentations are showcased. Program sponsors, faculty, business leaders and students are invited to see the innovations firsthand. This is an exciting evening for students to show their project to the community and practice their pitch while networking with community leaders interested in student innovation.

April 5: Final Presentations
Students give a 10-minute presentation on their projects. This includes a visual/oral presentation, summary of innovation and impact of the innovation on its intended industry or target.

April 17: Awards Ceremony
Competition winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony luncheon attended by innovation leaders throughout the community. Representatives from each winning team will be required to attend the awards presentation.

Select Wednesdays: One Million Cups Presentations
Winning teams will be invited to present their innovations at a One Million Cups presentation, increasing exposure to potential investors and collaborators.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Vice President for University Relations
North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-1068 - Fax: (701) 231-1989
Campus address: Old Main 204
Mailing address: Dept 6000 PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050
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Last Updated: Friday, December 29, 2017 4:36:39 PM
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