CNY Innovation Challenge

The CNY Innovation Challenge aims to spark ideas for developing unique products or services while fostering entrepreneurship.

Challenge Overview

The CNY Innovation Challenge aims to spark ideas for developing unique products or services while fostering entrepreneurship. Students have creative solutions that can be marketable products, and this challenge was designed to allow them to lean into those ideas! The process includes a crucial step – documenting intellectual property to protect concepts that could be used in a patent application. Teams will learn strategies to advance their idea and take a product/service to market. In addition to designing and developing an idea, you will need to have a solid go-to-market plan and a marketing pitch to “sell” your concept. See full rules in separate document.

The Challenge is open to students in grades 6-12. There will be winners in two brackets: high school (grades 10-12) and middle school (grades 6-9). Teams need to have a minimum of two students and a maximum of four. There will be cash prizes for winning teams.

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2021 Challenge Winners

Middle School

Awesome Ladies – Syracuse Academy of Science – A sports shoe with a changeable bottom for different sports.

High School

Razor Crest – Chittenango – In response to COVID, an innovative product to address multiple issues surrounding the use of masks with expected long-term applications post-pandemic.

Mandalorian Industries – Chittenango – An outdoor multiplayer game that upcycles and repurposes materials that would have otherwise been discarded.

BDLM Technologies – Chittenango – A charging station that will automatically enable the phones “do not disturb” function for the duration of the charge.

2022 Support Sessions

  • Tuesday, March 1st– Design Thinking – 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 5th – Office Hours – 10:00 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 10th – What Constitutes a Pitch? – 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 19th – Office Hours – 10:00 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 24th – Pitch Practicing – 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Challenge Prompts

CNY Innovation Challenge: Develop a solution to a problem by whatever may inspire you, but talking to potential customers and learning about others’ perspectives can provide valuable information. Some topic areas may include: • Service providers. Talk to someone who provides a service to your family or friends, and ask what problems they have at their work. These individuals could include your postal worker, hairdresser, Uber driver, teacher, etc. • Shopping. Go to a grocery store or other retailer and observe shoppers. Notice what they are buying, how they make decisions, how they seek help from employees. Use observations to create a new product or help customers’ retail experience. • Community. Talk to neighbors or leaders in your community. Ask them what challenges they see and create a solution.
• What market will product/service appeal to? • Have you articulated the need? How well does your idea address the need? • What competition is there in the marketplace? • Have you considered all aspects of design? (utility, usability & desirability) • How compelling is your overall presentation?
• The Challenge is open to students in grades 6-12. • There will be winners in the high school category (grades 10-12) and middle school (grades 6-9). • Teams need to have a minimum of two students and a maximum of four. • If a team has students from different grades, they will be entered in the category of the oldest student. • Team members can be from different schools. • 3 teams per school (more students can enter school-related contest and then school can down select). • Deadline to complete online registration is Friday, March 4, 2022. Pitch competition is on April 2, 2022.
1. Brainstorming/team collaboration 2. Market research – competition, target market, market potential 3. Develop product/service – function, naming 4. Document Intellectual Property – protecting unique ideas 5. Design – materials, product engineering, cost 6. Advertising/marketing considerations – packaging, look & feel, emphasize need & solution
Independent judges from the business community will be evaluating teams based on the following criteria: • 5-25 pts – originality/creativity of idea • 5-25 pts – market considerations • 5-25 pts – design worthiness • 5-25 pts – documenting intellectual property • 5-25 pts – advertisement & packaging • 5-25 pts – presentation