February 2016

  • GrowingSLU Challenge

    February 18, 2016
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    Think big. The most influential ideas are those that think biggest. We live in a society that craves those big, ambitious ideas. We translate this mentality to cultivate dreams, and goals and lifestyles that emphasize this larger way of thinking. Today at the Innovation Challenge, my team - conveniently named the Dream Team - thought big and it sure it did pay out as big as well.

    When we were brainstorming for ideas to entrepreneurially increase revenues at SLU we went straight for the big ideas. We wanted something transformational, but the ideas didn’t come right away. If you want to be revolutionary, you also have to be patient. Fortunately for us that patience paid off as finally we came through with a revenue-generating idea that we were satisfied with - creating a SLU football team.

    It just made so much sense. The Rams just left town creating a gaping professional sports hole that SLU (like it does with it’s basketball team) is perfectly positioned to fill. No competition and high demand typically translates to big time revenues. This was our thought process and we were lucky enough to have the judge agree with us. There were other ideas that might have been more feasible, but they were small scale, small revenue ideas. Ours was a big idea that would be quite the project to implement, but worth it because of the huge dividends that it would pay in big revenue.

    So how does this relate to everyday life? Pretty simple - dream those big dreams and go for them. In class go for that seemingly unachievable 4.0 and see what happens. Upon graduating, apply for that dream job even if it might seem like you’re under qualified for the position. Make those big moves and be patient for the results to come in. Think big. Win big.

    Winning Reflection - Dan Baran

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  • Lightest Bridge Challenge

    February 11, 2016
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    I’ve been fairly successful with the innovation challenge. So, when I don’t win, I am not especially upset. This did not hold true for today’s challenge. I was incredibly upset that my bridge design did not complete the necessary requirements.

    My team started out with a great bridge design. We cut down on all excess materials while still making our bridge very sturdy. I would argue that my team’s design was the best design present except for one small flaw; we couldn’t get the car up the ramp. I even attempted to fudge this by extending the ramp out horizontally with Popsicle sticks so that the rc car could gain some momentum, but it was futile. This failure really infuriated me because our design was so great, but the bridge still couldn’t perform the basic task that the collapsing monstrosity that went before us completed. But, I think there are some valuable lessons that I gained from this experience.

    The most important lesson to be learned is never ignored statics. When constructing the ramp to the bridge it seemed like a no brainer that any old incline would work. In fact we made the incline even more gradual than we had originally intended. But, it never really occurred to my team to consider just how tall our bridge was compared to the horizontal distance needed to extend the ramp. My group also made the mistake of choosing form over functionality. We were very concerned about whether or not the bridge could be super light and still hold the car. But, we missed the major point of the bridge, which was getting the rc car off the ground. It is very scary how a few simple mistakes can completely destroy a product.

    I think the mistakes I made today will actually help make me a better engineer. It is always important to remember the basic rules of engineering that are applied in statics. And even more importantly, an engineer should always make sure his product fulfills the basic requirements before making it fancy.

    Winning Reflection - Charles Hunsaker

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  • Creative Ideas for Everyday Things Challenge

    February 5, 2016
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    Presentation is key. There’s no getting around it - how you organize and present your information is as important, and maybe even more important, than the content itself. This was the major takeaway at today’s Innovation Challenge of creating a poster for an
    innovative household product.

    My team spent the first thirty minutes of the challenge brainstorming and developing our product - always a mistake because this typically leads to a sloppy and rushed final product. We should have just went with one of our original ideas in the first 15 minutes and ran with it so that we could have had enough time to efficiently develop and present that idea as clearly and creatively as possible. Although the quality of the poster presentation wasn’t noted as part of the judging criteria, it’s well known that we as humans are just naturally more drawn to what’s aesthetically pleasing and clearly organized.

    So while my team’s idea was perhaps as innovative and creative as that of the winners’ their poster was much superior than ours and ultimately perhaps that’s why they won. You could tell that they spent a lot of time on the poster as it was very neat and well drawn and extremely well thought out. Everything complimented each other on the poster and it resulted in a presentation that was incredibly clear and easy to follow - obviously a key in any presentation especially in this one, which didn’t allow for a talking pitch.

    It’s important then that we take this lesson back to everyday life. I can write a paper that has some awesome, original perspectives and ideas in it but if I don’t communicate that clearly and instead submit the paper, as it is -underdeveloped and unorganized - then I probably won’t do well. Similarly if I’m in an interview for a job, that interview is probably more important than my credentials for that job. What I’m really doing is presenting myself - and I should put as much time and effort into making my presentation as unique and professional as possible. For ultimately it doesn’t matter how qualified you are or how great your ideas are, if your presentation is weak then your results likely will be as well.

    Winning Reflection - Daniel Baran

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