The Presidents Innovation Challenge took place on January 11th, 2014 at Sheridan College. The challenge invited Sheridan College students from multiple disciplines to participate in an initiative aimed at developing a new innovation that will help build smart connections and enhanced experiences between the 2015 Games, the province of Ontario, and the fans.
I had an opportunity to discuss with our winning team, Fantastic Four, what they felt about the challenge and here is what they had to say:
We wanted to clarify our educational background for you. We are all classmates in the Interactive Multimedia Postgraduate program at Sheridan College. The course focuses on mobile technology, user experience design, and front-end responsive web development. We are graduating in April 2014.
Ron Dekker: Why did you join the Presidents Innovation Challenge?
Fantastic Four: We joined the Presidents Innovation Challenge because we believed that our team had a very unique vision to share. Having just completed a rather large client project together, the four of us really clicked and we were on a bit of a runners high from our accomplishment. We wanted to demonstrate our unique personal skill sets on a innovative large scale project. The Challenge seemed like a terrific opportunity to do just that. It is not often that an event like the Toronto Pan Am/Parapan Am Games comes to our community, so we wanted to have the chance to contribute.
Ron Dekker: What sparked your ideas?
Fantastic Four: We started by looking at what it means to be a visitor to the city of Toronto. What is the typical tourist experience? What are the challenges they face, and how can we make their stay more memorable? We felt that Toronto itself can be a bit isolating, as it is a city of neighborhoods, where the best restaurants, parks, and entertainment are sometimes only known to locals. We wanted to find a way to get visitors in touch with the ‘local’ Toronto – the dive bars, the tiny restaurants, and eclectic neighborhoods. We decided to give everyone the ability to ‘ask a local’, in their language, and the opportunity to meet and connect with the citizens of Toronto.
Ron Dekker: How did your mentors help you succeed?
Fantastic Four: The benefit of having the roving mentors was invaluable as we were able to gain a multitude of different perspectives. We were able to share our preliminary ideas with business professionals, officials associated with the Games, and experts in technology. It was a pleasure to be able to access such a breadth of knowledge, and apply this expertise to our design.
In the final round of the competition, our mentor Patrick Weir, from Fuse marketing, helped us refine and structure our ten minute presentation. Collaborating with Patrick was fantastic as we gained valuable insight from his professional experience.
Ron Dekker: What are Your thoughts on the challenge overall?
Fantastic Four: We thoroughly enjoyed the experience, as our team was grateful to have the chance to pitch our ideas to the judges. It was an enriching experience to design an innovation at this scale, in such a condensed time-frame, trusting our instincts and design skills. Most importantly, we had fantastic experience that was both fun and rewarding. We are really excited to share our idea to the rest of the team and bring the app to life!