Creativity and Inspiration Take Center Stage – 24 Hour Imagination Quest

IQ5On Saturday, November 15th and Sunday, November 16th, 2014, the 3rd annual 24 Hour Imagination Quest competition took place in CEER 105.  Hosted by the ICE Center, Beyond Ideas, and the Engineering Entrepreneurship Program, the competition was sponsored by the Kern Family Foundation and open to Villanova students across campus with the passion for developing new ideas.  28 students participated including six students from University of New Haven, another KEEN university, who joined the competition and created multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary teams.

The 24 Hour Imagination Quest is a quick moving, time-sensitive entrepreneurship competition which requires students to spend time observing the world around them and keeping alert for possible new opportunities.  The teams start the weekend with a brief overview of the competition’s framework and rules, and then are sent out to various locations on campus to search for inspiration in the ordinary.  This year, students were asked to use social media to track their progress through the competition, and tweet posts and photos with #novaIQ14 as they achieved each of weekend’s challenges.

IQ2IQ1After they have found a bunch a great new ideas, teams then focus on their vision for how their product or service would change the world, and talk to various “customers” to get feedback on their idea.  Once they have narrowed down their concepts to two excellent ideas, teams give an elevator pitch to an elevator of industry judges and experts.  They have just the length of an elevator ride to convince would-be financial backers to invest in their product.

Starting early on Sunday morning, the teams worked with industry professionals who mentored them on the creation of their formal business pitch and prototype.  The advice the teams received from their mentors helped shape their development of a prototype for display at their tradeshow late Sunday morning.  A new challenge to the 24HR IQ this year was the addition of a logo competition, where the teams designed a unique logo to best express their product or service.  The defining event of the weekend is the formal presentation in the “Cat Cage,” Villanova’s boardroom of executives and judges who assess the team on the quality of their idea, the effectiveness of their presentation, and whether or not they would be willing to give their own money to invest in the idea.

This year’s first place winning team was Excellent Endeavors, including Brittany Ghicondey (‘16 EG), Thomas Iervolino (’15 EG), Shant Marootian (’16 EG), Kaitlin Waller (’17 VSB), and Sophia Oselador (University of New Haven).  The team’s idea is Reviver, a safe and secure way to charge your phone in a public place, while still allowing full phone usability via a frame that fits your phone and constricts to the appropriate amount of pressure at the swipe of a credit card.

The 24 Hour Imagination Quest is quite an undertaking for just one weekend, but the students who take part in the competition find the experience invaluable.  The development of presentation skills, business acumen, creativity and design, prototype creation, customer awareness, social media marketing, and opportunity identification are the building blocks for a successful career after graduation, and the chance to experience such a breadth of knowledge within the confines of a competition is what sets the 24 Hour Imagination Quest apart.  Excellent Endeavors took the top prize this year, but next year it could be you!