January 2014

  • Go Bold With Your Brand Challenge

    January 30, 2014
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    Student Reflection - January 29, 2014

    The Weekly Innovation Challenge tests students to come together to solve unconventional problems. As someone who has participated in the challenge for a few semesters, I have been able to use this opportunity to meet many new people. The great thing about the challenge is that it incorporates students and graduate students from all majors and backgrounds. Since I started, I have had many good experiences with a very diverse array of teams, working with both foreign and domestic students and every major from the foreign languages to engineering. Today, I, a senior biochemistry student, was teamed up with two sophomores from the business school.

    The challenge for this week was “Go Bold with Your Brand.” The objective was to design a brand for a given product that included a logo and catchy slogan. The team whose brand identity was judged the best was the winner. As for the product, every team was given information about this laundry cleaning aid that helped to remove odor and dispense detergent. We later found out that it is an actual product around which current SLU students are designing a marketing plan. Teams were also given poster board and coloring supplies to create their advertisement, and all the judging was to be done without any oral presentation from the teams.

    My team noticed that the product was intended to be reusable, so we tried to approach the challenge from an environmentally friendly angle. We decided to name it the “Green Clean,” so our marketing strategy focused on integrating re-use, reduction of waste, and mindfulness for pollution. Effectively, the Green Clean was intended to reduce waste from plastic laundry detergent bottles by instead using dissolvable detergent cartridges. Likewise, we thought it would be best for the product to try to integrate a more eco-friendly detergent in the interest of preventing water pollution. Finally, we also showed that it very simple to operate, the preloaded cartridges requiring little effort to load into the product.

    After detailing the characteristics of the Green Clean, we came up with a fairly effective slogan, “Clean Green with Green Clean,” once again emphasizing the importance of environmental mindfulness. Likewise, our logo was a large GC with the C backwards and a small globe in the space between the two letters. Even though we nearly ran out of time, our final work came together successfully. It took the form of the logo and slogan followed by a short list of taglines for the product.

    Ultimately, a group who chose a simpler, more concise approach, beat our brand. As happens in every challenge, competitors bring their own backgrounds into solving the problem, so I think my own detail-oriented mindset might have cluttered up our advertising space with extra information. Nonetheless, I was pleased with my team’s project, and I look forward to the next time I can compete.

    Winning Reflection - Steve Doonan

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  • Second Use Challenge

    January 23, 2014
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    Student Reflection - January 23, 2014

    Today’s challenge was quite a fun experience! This was my very first Weekly Innovation Challenge (WIC) that I have been able to participate in, since it overlapped with my classes the previous semester. This challenge brought me an experience I’m generally not used to. I had to create innovative solutions to problems, prototype the solution, and pitch to judges; that was not new. However, what was new was the time limit we were working under. I’m used to innovations taking weeks to complete or at the very least a few days, so 40 minutes was an entirely new experience. The WIC really tested and stretched my imagination and creativity, plus put extra pressure on it due to the extreme time limit.

    The first few minutes of this challenge were spent frantically grabbing materials, even before designing our solution, in case it would help the group get more creative. After grabbing materials, we talked over various ideas: rapidly brainstorming. There were ideas that were kept as a viable option, and options that were immediately put in a last resort section. Brainstorming is something I’ve done on various projects hundreds of times, but the time limit was always in the back of my mind, creating a little extra stress that made it difficult to get some really creative ideas out. We ended up sticking with one design for a little bit and tried to figure out whether we wanted to continue with it, but it didn’t feel that original or impressive. Finally, our group started to focus on the audience a little more. The judges were two kids and SLU’s entrepreneurship center director, so we tried to find a broad theme to go with for our design. As a kid I loved to play spy games, and it’s not something that just guys are interested in, my little sister loved to play spy just as much. The group eventually came up with a product called “Message in a Marker,” where the markers would have a removable top, so once the ink ran out, it could be removed, leaving a small compartment for secret messages to be placed and passed between kids. The box itself would also have various coding arrangements so kids could code their messages as well. This was a great idea that we stuck with for the rest of the challenge and presented to our judges.

    This challenge showed me that time and pressure can create a lot of stress, making it difficult to focus enough to actually design a product, but it can also bring out some really strong ideas. The WIC was also a humbling experience. While I went into the challenge not expecting to win, there was always hope. After the team developed our product and presentation, we all felt very strong and happy with our design. When the winner was announced, there was a little bit of disappointment in not winning the challenge, but it was humbling to see all of the unique designs and creative ideas that the other teams arrived at. It also felt good being able to design the solution and develop a product in just 40 minutes. I enjoyed the experience of designing and prototyping in a very tight time schedule, because it led to a creative idea and resulted in very creative prototyping styles. While there was some disappointment, it was still a great experience and fun to try out. I originally wasn’t that interested in participating in the WIC, but after the experience, I am very much interested in continuing to participate so I can gain more innovation experience and have some fun to relieve the stress of classes.

    Winning Reflection - Christopher Colletti

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