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We challenge you to innovate a new solution to a real-world problem!

Every day we learn new skills and techniques and help solve problems for artists, makers, and entrepreneurs. Now it’s your turn to solve a real-world problem and make a difference!

How the Innovation Challenge works!

Are you ready to change the world—one idea at a time? Great! Let’s get started!

Check out how the Innovation Hub can help you and your students through problem solving and learning new skills.

  • Step 1: Think about the problems you encounter regularly.
  • Step 2: Think about how you can solve the problem.
  • Step 3: Apply a new skill to your solution.
  • Step 4: Develop your solution & share it with the world!
  • Feb. 15–Mar. 14 Teachers register students
  • Mar. 15–Apr. 30 Students/teams will work on their projects
  • May 3 Submission deadline
  • May 4-7 Judges select Challenge finalists
  • May 7 Pitch dates for Challenge finalists announced
  • May 10-14 Pitch competitions for Challenge finalists

The Rules & Guidelines

The rules of the Innovation Challenge are listed below. You do not have to participate in a science fair in order to participate in the Innovation Challenge. However, if you do plan to be considered for CARSEF, be sure your project follows CARSEF Rules, as explained in these 2 videos: CARSEF Training 1 and CARSEF Training 2.

Eligibility

Students 3-12 in Pulaski County Special School District are eligible to participate in the competition. Teachers will register students between February 10th and March 14th.

Teams

Students can participate as individuals or in teams for the Innovation Challenge. Teams of up to 4 students can participate as a team. This applies to all grades participating in the challenge.

CARSEF rules regarding teams: Teams at the senior division (high school) should have no more than 3 students. For the junior division (4th to 8th grade), CARSEF guidelines are no more than 4 students per team.

ISEF rules regarding teams: Regional and state science fairs follow the ISEF rules for teams. For the junior division (4th to 8th grade), CARSEF guidelines are no more than 4 students per team.

Participants should know that Broadcom MASTERS (for 6th to 8th-grade students) only accept individuals. See Broadcom MASTERS Rules and Eligibility

Process

Students will learn about the Engineering Design Process and use it to define a problem, think of a solution, create a prototype using new skills, and finally submit a slideshow presentation for their idea. Students will use the logbook template to record all of their ideas, questions, research, and results of the project. It is digital and easy to collaborate with team members.

Innovation Challenge Scoring Criteria

A team of jurors will review video presentations of each project and assign a score to each by scoring individual components of the scoring criteria below. The highest 5 overall scores will go on to a final round to present their projects virtually in front of a live panel of experts in innovation, entrepreneurship, and design.

Innovation

  • Creativity (worth 10 points)
  • Originality/ Introduction of New Idea (worth 10 points)
  • Critical Thinking (worth 10 points)
  • Use of New Skill (worth 10 points)

Feasibility

Determine whether production of this product could be a feasible solution.

  • Replicability (worth 10 points)
  • Cost (worth 10 points)

Execution

How well were the project and product executed?

  • Design (worth 10 points)
  • Function (worth 10 points)
  • User experience (worth 10 points)

Relevance

How well does this project solve a problem and how relevant is it?

  • Clearly defines a real problem (worth 10 points)
  • Solution adequately addresses the problem (worth 10 points)
  • Problem Selection / Has identified a problem that needs a solution (worth 10 points)
  • Impact / Solution has potential for impact (worth 10 points)

Presentation

  • Clearly communicates the problem (worth 10 points)
  • Communicates how project solves a real problem (worth 10 points)
  • Uses visual information to communicate to audience (worth 10 points)
  • Creativity & Design of presentation (worth 10 points)
  • Overall communication and presentation skills (worth 10 points)

The Prizes

The top 5 winners will receive Innovation Challenge winner t-shirts, laser-cut certificates of achievement, and a package of virtual learning and group consultation to help take their ideas to the next level on topics like entrepreneurship, website design, 3D printing, laser cutting, and more.

One grand prize winner will be awarded a prototype of their product, a customized t-shirt of their new brand, one-on-one consultation in entrepreneurship, and 10 hours of private instruction.

Thank you to Pulaski County Special School District for an excellent Pilot Program for the 2020-2021 Innovation Challenge!

Use the Engineering Design Process to guide your project.

Follow this engineering process to research a problem, build and test your solution, and then share it with the world!

Students will learn about the Engineering Design Process and use it to define a problem, think of a solution, create a prototype using new skills, and finally submit a slideshow presentation for their idea. Students will use the logbook template to record all of their ideas, questions, research, and results of the project. It is digital and easy to collaborate with team members. 

    Solve the world’s problems like an engineer! 

    1. Define the Problem: Look around and think about problems you see and experience in your everyday life. Select and define the problem you plan to solve in your digital logbook.
    2. Do Background Research: Find out existing solutions or attempts at solutions and think of how yours will be different. Be sure to paste titles and links of the resources you find into your logbook.
    3. Specify Requirements: What requirements do you need your project to have? Write them in your digital logbook.
    4. Brainstorm, Evaluate, and Choose Solution: Brainstorm possible solutions and choose one to try. Begin planning what skills and materials you will need to create a prototype. Write it all down in your digital logbook.
    5. Develop and Prototype Solution: Get your materials together and create a model of your idea.
    6. Test Solution: Test and Evaluate Prototype. Use your logbook to write your findings. Does your project meet the requirements you specified?
    7. Refine and Repeat Step 6 as necessary.
    8. Communicate Results: Design a presentation to communicate the results of your project.

    Learn new skills from  Innovation Hub experts.

    Dive into our virtual library below or ask your teacher to schedule a free consultation or training for your class!

    TEACHERS: FIND OUT HOW TO REQUEST THESE SERVICES IN OUR TEACHER’S GUIDE.

     

    Intro to Pottery Workshop in NLR

    3D Models with TinkerCAD

    Learn More

    Learn how to design 3D objects that show everyone what your idea looks like from all sides. This 3D model of your idea will help show others how it will work and help you measure real materials that you can use to build it. These 3D models could also be used to 3D print or use a machine to create a real version of your idea.

    Intro to Pottery Workshop in NLR

    Design-Think-Build

    Learn More

    Learn the process of taking an idea and making it a reality using simple tools, found materials, and the power of your brain. Need to construct a solution of your great idea? Here’s how!

     

    Intro to Pottery Workshop in NLR

    What is a Prototype?

    Learn More

    Meet the Innovation Hub’s Production Lead, Zoë Eagan-Gardner, who will explain what a prototype is and how our production team at the Hub helps inventions come to life every day!

    Intro to Pottery Workshop in NLR

    Vector Design for Lasers

    Learn More

    Learn the art and power of vectors and what you can make with them! Vector designs use computers to make points, lines, and shapes which can be used to make logos, artwork, invention plans, and other awesome graphics.

    Intro to Pottery Workshop in NLR

    Building your brand!

    Learn More

    Businesses and products use art and design concepts to appeal to both their customers and investors. Thinking about the look and feel of your business or product is what branding is all about. Learn new skills to set your products and ideas apart from the competition and grab your audience’s attention quickly.

    Intro to Pottery Workshop in NLR

    Problem-Solving

    Learn More

    Learn how to solve a problem. Did you know there are ways to approach a problem in order to get a solution that works? 

    Intro to Pottery Workshop in NLR

    Creating Your Product Pitch with Google Slides

    Learn More

    Watch this video lead by Hannah May, Education Lead – to learn how to use Google slides to create your Product Pitch. Also how to submit your items into the competition.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is this the same thing as a science fair?

    Not exactly. The Innovation Challenge is “Science Fair meets Shark Tank.” It’s all about using the Engineering Design Process to find solutions to real problems.

    Can projects be created by a team? If so, how many to a team?

    Teams are allowed. For the Innovation Challenge, teams should have no more than 4 students per team. This applies to all grades.

    CARSEF rules regarding teams:
    Teams at the senior division (high school) should have no more than 3 students. For the junior division (4th to 8th grade), CARSEF guidelines are no more than 4 students per team.

    ISEF rules regarding teams:
    Regional and state science fairs follow the ISEF rules for teams.

    Participants should know that Broadcom MASTERS (for 6th to 8th grade students) only accepts individuals. See Broadcom MASTERS Rules and Eligibility.

    What should my project include?

    Projects should include the criteria the judges will use to calculate scores—found in the scoring rubric. Follow the steps of the Engineering Design Process and record each step clearly in your digital logbook. Projects should also include a slideshow presentation of the project steps.  

    For help creating the slideshow presentation to submit, we have created a video tutorial to teach applicants how. Find it in the “Learn New Skills from Innovation Hub Experts” section of this page. Students should also be prepared to present their slideshow virtually to a panel if they are selected as a finalist.

    Should I use the Scientific Method or Engineering Design Process?

    Since this challenge is about invention, the Engineering Design Process is the more appropriate choice.

    How can I get help with my project?

    Teachers can schedule a virtual consultation or virtual training during their class time where students can get one on one assistance for projects or classes and can have an open Q&A live with a Hub staff member or a specific training taught virtually.

    Can I also use my project in the Central Arkansas Regional Science & Engineering Fair (CARSEF)?

    Students can present the same project for the Innovation Challenge, but will need to follow the CARSEF guidelines. We have provided a link and the CARSEF training videos at the top of this page.

    What prizes are awarded to winners?

    The top 5 winners will receive Innovation Challenge winner t-shirts, laser-cut certificates of achievement, and a package of virtual learning and group consultation to help take their ideas to the next level on topics like entrepreneurship, website design, 3D printing, laser cutting, and more.

    One grand prize winner will be awarded a prototype of their product, a customized t-shirt of their new brand, one-on-one consultation in entrepreneurship, and 10 hours of private instruction.

    Do participants who don't win get anything?

    We encourage students to follow the timeline and meet each milestone, whether they finish with a winning product or not. All applicants who submit a project will receive a Hub designed, laser cut Maker Challenge Coin as a token of achievement. These coins are inspired by the military and the Maker Community!

    How do I submit my project?

    Your completed logbook must be ready at the time you submit your project. Answer the questions in the submission form and attach your slideshow presentation. The judges for the first round will review your answers and your slideshow presentation to determine your score.

    Explore the energy of the wind!

    Watch this step-by-step video on how to build a model that demonstrates turning wind power into electricity for a house.

    William Kamkwamba

    Check out this inspiring video story told by a young Malawian. William Kamkwamba describes how he built a windmill to power his family’s home at the age of 14, during a time of poverty and famine. The windmill produced electricity and was built from spare parts and scrap!

    Shark Tank Kid Entrepreneur

    Youths invent some of the innovations and products we live with and use. Watch this young man impress the investors of Shark Tank with his professional pitch of a successful product that he and his father developed.

    The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub is a proud affiliate of Winrock International.

    FIND US IN NLR

    Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub
    204 E 4th St
    North Little Rock, AR 72114

    (501) 907-6570

    info@arhub.org

    OUR HOURS

    • 9AM to 5PM on Mon/Wed/Fri
    • 9AM to 7PM on Tue/Thu