(Photo by Flickr user Chris Goldberg, used under a Creative Commons license)
The Technology Forum of Delaware is taking a new approach to its third annual Idea Challenge: The focus is shifting from teams competing for the best idea to a collaborative process between local organizations and tech enthusiasts.
The event will be 5:30 p.m. March 16 at 1313 Innovation.
The big idea, said organizer George Rotsch, is for teams to each come up with practical solutions to problems Wilmington faces that can be further developed after the challenge ends.
“At a time in which Wilmington has so many serious challenges, we need to increase the effectiveness of the ideation process,” said Rotsch, who’s also a Tech Forum board member.
To that end, teams will be a combination of what Tech Forum is calling “do-gooders” and “tech geeks,” and so far, six teams of six to eight people have signed up. That includes folks from the Small Business Administration, Downtown Visions, Wilmington University, Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau and Zip Code Wilmington.
Applying ideas borne from previous Idea Challenges, Rotsch said, hadn’t been approached from a practical standpoint. To remedy that, Tech Forum is underscoring the fact that the event is just one part of the problem-solving process. Mac Nagaswami, CEO of Carvertise, will offer an orientation to the entrepreneurial process, and people from the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship will also brief teams on the entrepreneurial ideation process and how to pitch a good idea.
The teams will be given a particular “challenge problem” to solve, which hasn’t been announced yet, but will concern a current problem Wilmington faces.
The audience will choose a winner, Rotsch said, but the judges will be pointing out the strengths and potential of all of the ideas presented.
“It’s not as much, this year, about one idea we say is the winner, but recognizing as many positive, innovative concepts — so we can draw attention to concepts that have the potential to make a difference,” he said.
If teams want help moving their idea forward after the Idea Challenge, Rotsch said they can ask the Tech Forum for help through connections, expertise or other resources.
“We will explore all the options and call on member firms with the right skills to help develop, and hopefully implement, the leading ideas,” said Rick Sommer, Tech Forum’s president, in a release.
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