IBM Design Challenge Kicks Off

By: Matt Masison (Q27)

On Thursday, September 7th, QUEST hosted IBM executives as they helped kick off the IBM Design Challenge, a case competition to go alongside the upcoming 25th Anniversary Gala on October 7th. 25 years ago, the QUEST (IBM-TQ) program started with a grant from IBM, and IBM is reconnecting with QUEST in our 25th year. Throughout September and early October, IBM is hosting a design challenge centered on the theme “The World is Flat,” highlighting the interconnectedness of the present age. At the kickoff event, students were presented with a wide variety of different examples of how IBM has found solutions to problems centered around connecting people. Now, eight student teams will work with alumni mentors throughout the month to find a solution of their own and present it to IBM judges on the day of the Gala.

QUEST Students and Alumni Getting Fired Up for the IBM Design Challenge at the Kickoff Event

The eight QUEST teams presented their preliminary pitches on Thursday, September 14 to the IBM judges. Jerry Goodman, Smith School alumnus and IBM partner that is spearheading the challenge from the IBM side, said that both he and his team were thoroughly impressed with the creativity of the idea pitch presentations. Now, each team will use the feedback to improve upon their solutions and start to develop a prototype. On September 28th from 5:30-7:30 PM, all QUEST students and alumni are invited to attend the prototype testathon in VMH 2333 to provide feedback for the teams.

The month of hard work will culminate with a final presentation of each team’s product or service on October 7th from 2-4:30 PM in ESJ 1224. We hope to see many students and alumni cheering on the teams in the audience! Student teams will wait patiently for the announcement of the winner that night at the Gala. The month ahead looks like a lot work, but also a lot of fun, especially for the winner. The entire winning team will be given a tour of IBM’s New York innovation center.

This next month is going to be a wild ride, and we can’t wait to see what the teams come up with!

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