Imagine Cup Thoughts

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Now that the dust has settled a bit I’ve had time to reflect on the Imagine Cup this year. Here are some random observations:

  • It gets better every year : the teams, their ideas, their implementation and their presentation seems to improve with every world final. This year was the best ever. I get the impression that teams are really thinking about how to not just make their ideas work, but how to make them real so that the outside world can make use of them. This is great.
  • Making stuff is much easier : quite a few teams had made hardware. The winners even used the .NET Micro Framework to power their in-car device. In the old days using hardware meant messy wooden boxes and dodgy looking devices. Not so now. With fabrication machines appearing at very low prices it is now possible for a team to make a case for their device which looks as good as any shop-bought item. There was some highly impressive, consumer ready, hardware being shown off.
  • Teamwork is still vital : the teams that did best did it as a team. The ones that played off each other and made use of all the team members in presentation and development were the ones that did the best.
  • The judges had a great time too – every judge that I spoke to really enjoyed seeing what had been made and talking to students. I said at one of the briefings there was only one group of people more determined than the students to come to the next Imagine Cup, and that is the judges. This is absolutely the case. And I’m including myself in that..