Monday, July 6, 2009

Special Awards

Today was a full day of presentations. First up was the Microsoft Unlimited Potential sponsored Design for Development award, focused on development needs in emerging countries where people are living on less than $8 a day. The second was for the Suzanne Mubarak Award, which focused on women and children’s needs. Watch the Imagine Cup web site for announcements for the finalists.

In yesterday's posting, I promised a list of the common themes from the best presentations. Here it is:

  1. The top teams have rich applications. There are multiple modules and multiple devices, with mobile devices dominating, as they did last year.
  2. The teams have thought about their audience and the limitations of their location.
  3. They've thought through security issues, verifying and protecting data and access.
  4. They build on and integrate with established applications, databases and experts (e.g. doctors, clinics, and government agencies). They leverage what's been done
  5. The finalists have anticipated both the technical and the business questions.
  6. They have run a real-world pilot and learned from it.
  7. They have thought about what motivates user to use the system. They know why it will be adopted
  8. They talked about how the system will be sustained. They’re clear about the economic model and the total cost of ownership (TCO)
  9. They’ve thought about how the application will be deployed and upgraded. Can it upgraded remotely? What happens when it breaks? Can it be serviced remotely or swapped out?
  10. They have multimedia presentations, mixing video, photos, demos and pleasant PowerPoint slides (an oxymoron? i.e., avoiding bullets, mixing text and artwork as "pictures")
  11. They clearly and meaningfully tie to the project goals (in this case the MDG goals)
  12. They are passionate about their applications and their excitement is contagious.

These are worth keeping in mind for future teams and for that matter, any development team.

Tomorrow is World Festival Day at the pyramids of Giza where the winners will be announced!

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