February 2015

  • Pill Box Challenge

    February 26, 2015
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    Today was my first time participating in a weekly innovation challenge and the stakes were high. With $1000 on the line, we were asked to create a pill holder design that would hold four pills a day for seven days and would be appropriate to be used by a middle-aged professional.  After completing our design, as a team we had 60 seconds to pitch our idea to a variety of judges who could award us 1-4 points in the form of tickets. At the completion of the challenge, the team that had the most points won the challenge.

    Since it was my first time participating in the weekly innovation challenge and I was joining an experienced team that participates regularly, I was nervous going into the challenge. I was concerned about finding the aspects of the challenge in which I could contribute the most.  However, I found the challenge to be a great opportunity to learn about working in a group of individuals from diverse interests and academic backgrounds. I completed the challenge with an electrical engineer major and a public health major, while I am a communication science and disorders major. The electrical engineer immediately delved into the design of our iRX portable pill container that could be attached to phones, computers, and tablets. He established how the design could be made compact and aesthetically pleasing. In the meantime, the public health major began developing our pitch and coming up with how our product could relate to the overall health of the individual. This link was made by developing an app that the pill container could sync to the user’s phone that could also be synced to other health apps like Fitbit, to track overall health. As someone who is studying to be a speech pathologist, a very patient-based field, I found myself, looking at the challenge from the potential customer’s perspective and how they would perceive our product. I helped develop a design that would be discrete so that medication, something that can often be personal, is not very public and overt. I also encouraged my team to make a product that attaches to a variety of devices, like phones, computers, and tablets to match the life of professionals that is dynamic and fast-paced. 

    This challenge also provided me an opportunity to reflect on the mistakes that our team made and how we could have better completed the task at hand. Entering the judging portion of the challenge, I was very confident in our design and its many elements. However, as the rotation of judges stopped by our table, I realized it really came down to the pitch. We had only 60 seconds to express all the excitement that we had about the product and brand we had spent the last 45 minutes creating. If we were to do this challenge again, my team would have spent more time developing a dynamic presentation that would have better showcased our design. With only 60 seconds, each second is an opportunity to acquaint the judge with the design you have worked so hard on.  I also learned a lot about the challenge by seeing the winning design of an Altoids box that concealed the pills it contained. By seeing this clever design, I was reminded that sometimes it is best to keep things simple.  My team came up with many good ideas, however it is important to edit and refine your final design.

    Winning Reflection - Kelsey Arnold

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  • The Drone Challenge

    February 19, 2015
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    Winning Reflection - Jacob Berry

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  • Tower Challenge

    February 12, 2015
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    Today’s challenge was very simple, but yet allowed room for artistic and structural creative. We were instructed to make a tower that stood at least two feet tall and could hold a weight (duct tape roll) and withstand wind. The wind was blown at three different speeds from a carpet-drying fan.  If both of these minimum requirements were met, then the judging was based off of aesthetics. 

    Our goal as a team was to focus on the stability first. We wanted to start with a base that was fairly wind resistant. After we assembled that, we focused next on the strength. The tower had to be sturdy enough to hold a weight, so we made sure that we had enough support. However, in hindsight, our mistake came when we altered the shape of our tower to make a platform to accommodate the weight. Originally, we planned on making the top of the tower small than the base to add stability, but we forgot to add more support at the bottom once the top was altered. The mistake was made because we ran out of time in order to do any tests of our structure.

    This challenge taught the importance of time management and quality checks for projects. Efficiency is the key to balancing both. Another lesson learned from the challenge is sticking to all of the guidelines that were created at the beginning of the project. Somewhere along the line, we forgot to re-adjust our base for stability like we originally planned and that inevitably doomed us.  

    Winning Reflection - Michael Hankins

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  • Get Your Fortune Up Challenge

    February 5, 2015
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    This week’s challenge was the first trivia challenge for the spring 2015 semester.  Although the trivia challenges have proved difficult for me in the past, I was determined to stay positive and have fun while learning something new.  This is what the weekly innovation challenges mean to me, namely a weekly opportunity to be innovative and challenge myself in a positive learning environment. 

    This week was particularly exciting as I had a group made of one member from my group last week, and an entirely new member, and myself.  Our group did not come up with a strategy for this challenge seeing as it was to determine the name of Fortune 500 companies from riddles as clues.  I dare say this may have been part of our downfall since we did not win the challenge!  However, even with no strategy other than go for it, our newly formed team was able to collaborate well with each other and there was instantly no embarrassment about lack of knowledge. 

    The clues ranged from some that seemed obvious to those that seemed more difficult and required some real thought.  Each person has his or her own interests and random facts that they remember.  Thus, each person was able to answer some of the riddles that completely stumped other members of the group.  It was clear in this week’s challenge to see the importance of personal interests and likes!  There was an inherent degree of trust among the members of the group.  When one member believed a clue to be a certain company, they were able to convince the group of the truthfulness of the answer with no more persuasion than a simple statement of, “I am pretty sure that is the answer”.   It wasn’t until towards the end of the allotted time that the group decided the quality of the answer was less important and just any answer would suffice.  I will admit that case only applied to 3 clues!

    In the end, my group was not successful in winning the challenge.  However, I was successful, as I usually am, in pushing myself to be innovative and challenging myself in the positive learning environment created by the weekly innovation challenge!

    Winning Reflection - Liz Jolley

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