25th Anniversary Gala

The World Is Flat: IBM Design Challenge!

By: Andrew Jones (Q26)

On May 1st, representatives from different sectors of IBM came to UMD to introduce QUEST students to the IBM Design Challenge, leading up to QUEST’s 25th Anniversary Gala this fall.

Jerry Goodman from IBM engaging students about the IBM Design Challenge

The Challenge is purposely taking place during 2017, which marks QUEST’s 25th anniversary year. The QUEST Honors Program initially started with a generous gift from IBM, and since then, has grown to a program with a significant impact both within the UMD campus and around the country. Competitions like the IBM Design Challenge allow for students to engage with the material they’ve learned in the classroom setting and allow them to create something meaningful that can have impact on their surrounding communities.

As representatives emphasized during the information session, IBM has gone through a shift in the culture and approach they take when innovating new solutions and services. In conjunction with selling servers and software, IBM is creating user-centric designs to empower both people and businesses. From the collaborative work environments at IBM, where they incorporate many of the design thinking ideas such as creating teams of individuals from different backgrounds and getting consistent feedback from potential users in their lo-fi concepts, IBM has been successful with their latest innovations such as the Under Armour Application which truly reflects the users’ needs.

The IBM Design Challenge serves as a means to engage students and alumni in IBM’s focus on user-centric solution design. As of last week, students and alumni can sign up with teams of 3 to 5 members. On September 7th, the event will begin and students will have one month to design a solution or service around the theme, “The World is Flat.” The one-month competition will consist of a pitch to IBM judges, a “testathon” of prototypes, and final presentations during the day on October 7th with winners announced that evening at the QUEST 25th Anniversary Gala.

Winners of this design challenge will have the opportunity to visit IBM Watson in New York City. The winning team will have the chance to immerse themselves with this new culture at IBM, seeing first-hand the shift in culture and approach IBM has taken in their solution innovation. On top of this, the visit will help open doors for networking and potential job/internship opportunities at IBM. For everyone else that participates in the competition, they will be able to attend the QUEST 25th Anniversary Gala free of charge.

Don’t wait to sign up, sign up here: Student sign up! Alumni sign up! All interested in participating are also encouraged to sign up for this Facebook group, where we will be posting updates over the summer.