We’ve had the great opportunity to host lively and interesting discussions with many entrepreneurs about their concepts throughout the Innovation Challenge. As we enter into the second half of the open submission period, we wanted to share the top five tips for creating strong submissions:
1) Read the Criteria, but study the Judges’ Scoring Rubric
The criteria provides an important list of what the judges will be looking for in each submission. However, the Judges’ Scoring Rubric lets you know the exact potential percentage points awarded in each category. Make sure that your submission addresses these categories. For instance, describe how your submission will deliver on creating a compelling experience for its target users, explain how it is differentiated from solutions currently in the market, and share how your team is uniquely qualified to build and launch this project.
2) Scalability is the key metric for this Innovation Challenge
Could your solution help people in other communities, regions, and countries? We see many innovative solutions that perfectly satisfy the needs of a small community, but our hope is to bring these great solutions to a broader population too. Even if you have not made a formal plan to scale your solution, make sure to share your initial ideas for how you might do so on the submission form. We know all of the best ideas start small and grow — don’t forget to describe both points!
3) Short and simple!
Each question on the submission form has a maximum number of words you can use to answer the question. This is a boundary, not a goal. Be clear, succinct, and free of jargon, and if you only need half of the words to answer the question, there is no need to write more!
4) Help the judges see what you see
As the saying goes, an image is worth a thousand words. If you can create a diagram, flow chart, or sketch that helps make your concept more understandable, please add it to your submission. You can also attach an image of a person or people benefiting from your solution. Attaching an image is optional, so if you do not have an image you will not have points deducted — it can only help!
5) Every journey starts with a single step
Many entrepreneurs we’ve met have shared incredible visions of the world when their solution is in every person’s hands. We love that ambition and forward thinking, but the judges will also want to know about how you plan to get to make your vision a reality. The strongest submissions are ones that feel tangible and specific, where it’s clear exactly how the early idea turns into a real product or service that an actual person will engage with. Specifically, describe exactly what your solution is (e.g. an app, a service, a contract, a research project), where you will launch your idea (e.g. city, community, tribe), and who you hope will adopt it first (e.g. girls, students, elderly, businesses, governments). We want you to be successful so please make sure to be as clear and precise as possible in your submission. Vision combined with practical details will make your solution very compelling!
As always, if you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And make sure you get your submission in by the 6 January deadline!