Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, where students from around the world, including Africa, compete for prizes for their best innovations using Microsoft products and technology, concluded with the worldwide finals in July in St. Peterburg, Russia. The company is already gearing up for next year’s competition.
“We’ve been working on plans for this season since January, believe it or not, and I can’t believe we’re finally here. We have some great new contests for you and a lot of cool stuff to share,” Imagine Cup’s John Scott Tynes wrote on their blog.
Microsoft detailed the continued format that spans three different categories: Games, Innovation, and World Citizenship, and added that there will be a prize of $50 000 for each winner in the respective categories.
But there will also be a number of changes to next year’s competition, with the addition of a worldwide semi-final round.
“We will spotlight every one of those World Semi-finalist teams here on our website as each National Final concludes and then, starting in May, all 200+ World Semi-finalist teams will enter an online round here at our website. In that round our judges will determine the teams who win a trip to Seattle to compete in person at the 2014 World Finals in late July.”
Microsoft added that they are retiring the three technology-based challenges from 2013 and are instead kicking off three new ones, the first of which has now started. None of these challenges require any programming at all. Instead, they are to help student get started with the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).
The new challenges include:
Pitch Video Challenge (September-October): Record a three to five minute video with your team pitching your project!
Project Blueprint Challenge (November-December): Dig deep into your thinking and deliver a written project proposal covering your users, requirements, scenarios, and business model.
User Experience Challenge (January-February): How will people actually use your software? A great user experience transforms any solution so show us your user flow, wireframes, and a visual target for how your software will look on screen.
IT News Africa was in St. Petersburg to cover the African entries and was fortunate enough to witness Team Code 8 from Uganda walk away with the Women’s Empowerment Award for their project called Matibabu, earning them a cheque for $12,000.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor