How not to lose $ 100,000 - judges' advice on participating in idea contests

    Everyone began to run when they wanted to, and they ran where they wanted, and stopped when they wanted to.
    After about half an hour, Dront suddenly gave the command:
    - Finish! Stop! The competition is over!
    And everyone, out of breath, surrounded him and began to inquire:
    - And who won?
    To answer this question, even Dront had to think carefully.
    Finally, Dront said:
    - Everyone won! And everyone will receive prizes, ”he added.
    Lewis Carroll. Alice in Wonderland

    Of course, a participant in any contest would like things to be exactly the same as in the crazy races of Wonderland. But in reality, of course, everyone cannot win, only the most worthy win. Or do not win.
    Why? And most importantly - how to fix it? About this post below.

    On September 4, the Russian stage of the Intel App Innovation Contest competition, including the one at sabr, was completed at the hub . Participated, of course, as Dodo invited judges.
    We looked at more than two hundred applications, which took a total of at least 3 full working days, and were tired so that vikky13even had to take a vacation. But as a result, we can help you - share with you tips on participating in competitions of ideas that are periodically held by large companies, and are accompanied by equally large prizes. Although, in our case, these were the ideas of desktop applications for Windows 8, the tips are universal and suitable for any contests of ideas.

    So, let's imagine that you have a good, or at least a good idea (a bad one will not help), and you want strict but fair judges (and there are no others in such competitions) to choose it. Then you should consider that:

    1. The salvation of drowning - the business of the gills of the drowning themselves.

    If you do not explain clearly enough and convincingly what exactly you mean in your application, then the judges simply will not understand and will not appreciate it, and you will remain behind the winners ship. Of course, internal recommendations for judges may contain a request to clarify all issues that arise with the participants, but in reality this almost never happens. Remember the total number of applications and you will understand why. But even if we distract ourselves from the time spent, the competitions of large companies are serious events, not like matinees in a kindergarten, where even a child who has forgotten a rhyme will be prompted and given a prize.

    Typical examples of such applications are either too short single-line unsubscribing from which it is difficult to understand something, or compositions on several sheets in which the essence is buried behind numerous irrelevant details. How to fix things? Show your idea to at least someone (not a cat) and ask if he understood the meaning of what was written. If not, then edit the application and repeat the process until you get bored to perfection.

    2. "See the goal, believe in yourself and not notice obstacles."

    Each competition has a goal, respectively, there are criteria for the selection of works. And they, here’s a surprise, are usually explicitly stated in the competition rules. "The work will be evaluated according to the following criteria ...". And even if suddenly they are not indicated, the names of the competition are easily derived from common sense. That's just many participants do not think about it. Therefore, for example, for the AIC 2013 competition with the main assessment criterion of the form “Degree of innovative ideas and the novelty of the device’s use model”, many ideas of one of three types were submitted:
    “There is such a site, and we will do almost the same, but in the form application desktop "
    " There is such a program for Android and / or MacOS, and we will do the same for Win8 "
    " There are separate services, and we will collect them all together in one application "

    In general, if these are innovative ideas, then what are the old banal ones?

    How to fix things? Think some more. Even if you like the idea of ​​turning something already existing into what is required for the competition, it is quite possible to come up with some kind of chip that is really new and distinguishes you from the original service / application. And not just invent, but also properly describe in your application.

    3. “Grammar is a system of snares prudently placed for a person who has broken out of the lower classes on his path to success.”

    Spoiled by Habra, where all posts and almost all comments are an example of literacy, we were horrified to read the applications of the contest participants, which are far from being such an example.
    And we want to open a secret - sometimes there are grammar-nations among the judges who will avenge your mistakes in their assessment of your application. Although, frankly, if your idea is dazzlingly sparkling, then it will simply overshadow the mistakes, and of course they will forgive you. Winners are generally forgiven for much. But if the idea is “on the verge” of cross-country ability, then mistakes will drag it down beyond the line. And the logic here will be quite clear - if a person makes mistakes in words, then he will most likely have mistakes in programs. So why skip it?
    How to fix things? Long live the spell checker!

    In general, after getting acquainted with the applications sent to the competition, it seems that many participants perceive such events not as fair competitions, but as a lottery, where each application is a treasured ticket. Although this is absolutely not the case, even in terms of the lottery, one must take into account that there are no free lottery tickets even in the mousetrap, that is, there is still work to be done on the ticket application in order to become a winning one.

    Not bad advice at all

    We now formulate the promised advices once again as briefly and clearly as possible so that they become for you a guide to action and future victories.

    If you immediately got the idea - wait for the second.
    Triviality is the main scourge of ideas contests. 90 percent of sentences repeat each other; try to get into the rest 10. Soberly evaluate the originality of your application, and if you have doubts, take the time to invent another.

    Read the rules - they rule!
    Resist the temptation to copy-paste once cooked text everywhere indiscriminately. Carefully read the terms of the competition and figure out how to deploy your idea so that it appears in a winning light here.

    The judge is also a man, take care of him.
    Write your applications in the highest possible Russian (in this case) language, which is available to you, so that the judge can read it without heartache and, most importantly, understand exactly how you wanted.

    And finally, especially for those to whom the above tips seem obvious, here are a few more real-life examples of applications from the AIC 2013 contest.

    Work on bugs

    Probably, the authors of the applications that we present here will not be happy about this. We ask them to excuse us in advance (especially since we, of course, do not give their names) - we don’t want to offend anyone, we just don’t understand them. Therefore, with these examples we want to do our job: to show how we should not speak at the competition of ideas.

    Easy programming training, with the ability to save your results.

    I don’t know what exactly the author had in mind, but I think that he wants to implement his version of the Notepad program - it is quite suitable for this description.

    The application solves the problem of planning the user's budget for the year, taking into account unintended expenses
    The application probably somehow solves, but here's how - the author forgot to write, inviting the judges to use telepathy.

    Musical sounding of fairy tales for children. Parents can click on the button and the story will begin to be read. It will help the child fall asleep. Each fairy tale should first be read in a good voice acting. After that, the tale should be played on the tablet.

    In fact, if you take ready-made tales, then such an application is called a media player. And there are many of them, and they can read not only fairy tales, but they were also there, and even train schedules.

    The innovation of my idea is that schoolchildren or students will be able to approach learning from the other side, from the side of innovation.

    I'd like to answer to such a level of specificity “This idea differs from others in its differences”

    In the application, teachers and students can intuitively send and receive homework. This system will allow schoolchildren, students to interact interactively with teachers at a professional level, that is, a simple and innovative homework system will be presented in this application.

    It seems to us that the only possible innovation in sending homework is changing roles - students will assign homework to teachers. We doubt that this can be implemented in our schools.

    When the player has prepared the dish, he clicks the “Finish!” Button, receiving basic points, then the application offers him to photograph the result on a webcam or phone. Photos fall into the voting section. Other quest participants vote daily for the best dishes, each of them according to their stage and stage below.

    Previously, photography could only be treated, now there is the opportunity to also taste. For the best dishes, you need to attach a photo of the drooling expert.

    At the beginning of the application, the user passes an easy social survey, which indicates gender, age, profession, etc. Based on the results of this survey, our application shows the likelihood of illness of individual organs.

    It seems that this application is not on a medical subject; he has the right place in games, in the "fortune-telling" section. In general, do not forget to estimate in your mind how your idea will look in real life, because we are not creating abstract knowledge, but a product for the user.

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