This past weekend Big Kitty Labs helped host Ohio State’s College of Arts and Sciences IDEAFEST 2017 event. We had a small but determined turn out for the event. About 40 ideas were pitched and six teams assembled.
IDEAFEST is an event we helped create and put on last year at Ohio State, modeling it after Startup Weekend but omitting one big thing which is no biz model talk. Which I find is hard for people to do. In theory it makes sense because any biz model you come up with in 12hrs at some event like this is largely bs. I mean you just don’t know- but everyone wants to convince themselves they know how things work. This is where 99% of businesses go wrong- the art of assumptions.
Regardless IDEAFEST was a blast and we had some great teams:
SafeRate, a local crime monitoring platform.
FastTrack, a fitness app for runners.
Freemoji, an emotional state of mind emjoi texting app add on.
Conversa, a language learning platform.
Explorers, an augmented reality explore your landmarks game.
Soles, a foot soles internet of things product measuring foot stress on the sole to help you understand if you’re working out correctly or not.
Every team won something from a collection of prizes which included: roku’s, ipad mini’s, gopro’s and more.
Top 3 teams were: SafeRate, Soles and Explorers
Judge feedback is a place I like to send a lot of time on. So the pitches were done by students in college some young, others near graduation. The judges ranged from faculty at Ohio State and those working in economic development etc.
There’s usually a theme of sorts from judge feedback I find at these events. What are the judges thinking about in regards to current society, life and times, state of technology and then the acceptance of these ideas and their proposed manifestation by the students. Its all like an act of story telling. None of these students have really pitched before so its a learning experience beyond the act of building up and idea etc.
So the big theme? Paranoia. Yep. Nearly every question had to do with a sense of paranoia around the concept- would it be secure, how do you prevent mis use of the data, how do you prevent trolls, how do you protect the user, etc. Kinda interesting really. Clearly there was a demographic disconnect as well. Many of the ideas just didn’t register to the judges, and this adversely effects the perception of the ideas being relevant to them and thus everyone as they are the judges.
I think this is notable because enabling ideas is less and less about the hurdles to realize the technology to do the idea or even the customers or the market, its more so a game of should it exist. We’re in a society thats deep fried in innovation and now the quest is to de-clutter ourselves in many ways so you see that in the judges, as if they are in need of detox. Where as turn the clock back 10-15 years and the quest was to realize the future, build it, well its here and now folks want to go back heh.
And it will only get more and more intense.
The take-aways for us at Big Kitty- technology is easy, it really is, the hard part is getting it along with your customers right. While there’s general paranoia in the older demographic, the younger one is all consuming of the material- so target your concepts correctly be mindful of each targeted base of users.
Still a great time to make, so have at it!