March 2014

  • Nom, Nom, Nom on the Road Challenge

    March 27, 2014
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    Student Reflection - March 26, 2014

    It was yet another creative day at the Weekly Innovation Challenge. Today’s challenge was all about being creative while not sacrificing convenience for on-the-road eaters. The objective was to come up with a package design that offers convenience and safety to busy individuals who often need to satisfy their hunger while driving. The target was for drive-thru, fast food restaurants.

    Upon receiving the impromptu challenge prompt, my team, which consisted of a senior in biochemistry and myself, immediately drew up designs in our minds. After offering my idea of the cone-like cup that has a removable food tray on top and drink on the bottom, we agreed to elaborate on this idea after a short brainstorming session. We agreed this was a good design due to its simplicity, economical and convenience in nature. Since we had to deliver a pitch to convince the judges of the proposed design, we created posters to provide visual aid. We ended up winning the challenge based on the fact that our design was realistic, convenient and simple, among other things.

    In conclusion, it was a good learning experience to pay attention to every detail of the problem we were trying to solve. In this case, we carefully accounted for many different aspects of the problem, such as the type of restaurant, type of food, consumer, driving habits, safety concerns, and so on. Having all the information laid out, discussing the problem was a breeze. For instance, we aimed to design a package with extra simplicity due to the fact that drivers needed one less thing to worry about to ensure their focus on the road; we knew the packaging had to be economical since they would be disposable, hence they were to be made of biodegradable card board. Overall, it was a meaningful and fun-filled challenge!

    Winning Reflection - Aaron Phu

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  • Dash to the Finish Line Challenge

    March 20, 2014
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    Student Reflection - March 19, 2014

    While I try to attend the Weekly Innovation Challenge (WiC) often, my recent schedule has prevented me from competing in the past few weeks due to school-related travel. Today’s event ended up being a great way to get back into the competition. Because I always use the WIC to meet with new people from different backgrounds, my team this week consisted of a graduate aerospace engineering student, a sophomore business major, and me, a senior biochemistry major. Today’s event was the “Dash to the Finish Line”, and it provided a great opportunity for me to develop my teamwork skills with my new teammates.

    For the challenge, the key theme was speed. In order to win, teams needed to be the fastest to complete the three sub-challenges. First, teams needed to solve the following code: “JEMPYVI MW RSX ER STXMSR”

    Next, they were required to make a square pattern out of 40 feet of tangled rope while blindfolded. Finally, the last phase had individuals from each team rushing to repeat a color pattern dictated by the judges by touching the corresponding colors around the McDonnell Douglass rotunda. After each successful attempt, the color code was lengthened by one additional color.

    Initially, my team struggled with the code challenge. We saw the first team complete it rather quickly and rush to the next event before my teammate tried swapping each letter with letters near to it alphabetically. Eventually, I noticed that the “ER” two letter word might correspond to “AN,” an actual two letter word whose letters were four below each of them in the alphabet. Therefore:

    J E M P Y V I M W R S X E R S T X M S R

    F A I L U R E I S N O T A N O P T I O N

    Second, we quickly formulated a plan for the rope challenge. By untangling and then doubling over the rope twice, we had four lengths of ten feet each. I fixed the first corner while my teammates spread the two corresponding sides. Next, I needed to take the other corner diagonally away from me to finish the square. Because the square was 10 feet per side, I realized I needed to walk about 15 feet for the diagonal. I quickly remembered my marching band days in high school and used my muscle memory to go through 5 yards in 8 steps, the standard marching band step length. Despite the blindfolds, my team succeeded in making the square on our first attempt.

    Winning Reflection - Steve Doonan

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