As a lead up to their fourth annual Technology and Innovation Expo, Southern Illinois University Carbondale partnered with Launcht to create a crowdvoting platform for their
Saluki Idea Competition, which focused on projects related to the theme “Sustaining our Community.” The goal of the competition was to encourage entrepreneurial and environmental innovation among students. The competition began in late August when a committee began accepting student proposals, and voting began on October 5. The voting period lasted 10 days, at the end of which the 5 most popular campaigns each gave a 3-minute presentation to a panel of judges who ultimately declared a winner, runner up, and honorable mentions.
In order to submit applications, teams had to have at least one team member who was currently enrolled at SIU, and the project had to meet the criteria of working towards the “Sustaining our Community” theme. Thirteen projects made it to the competition and ranged from data stopper technology that would temporarily block data on mobile phones in moving cars, to a Drive Green initiative that would work towards creating non-copper brake pads. SIU started with a limited budget but by utilizing the Launcht crowdvoting platform, they hoped to drive student participation and involvement in entrepreneurial projects. They found that the participation level exceeded what they had hoped for, and their takeaway was that “students at SIU are willing and able to drive innovation, and if [given the] tools and motivation to do it, they will respond.”
- Number of campaigns = 13
- Days of the competition = 10
- Number of votes for the winning campaign = 188
- Number of votes for the most popular campaign = 200
- Total number of votes = 1,736
First prize–an ecolight designed to use kinetic and solar energy to power street lights in high-traffic areas–was awarded $500 plus an extra $600 from the Sustainability Council. Second prize, a project dubbed “Saluki Sustainable Store,” a campus store stocked with local and sustainable products, took home $200 and an additional $400 from the Sustainability Council. The three honorable mentions, A Special Daily, which received the most overall votes–200–to make it to the final round; Intelligent Non-Destructive Evaluation System for Aircraft Composite Inspections; and Data Stopper all received $50. While the original Saluki Idea Competition platform is no longer active, the application phase for their next round can be viewed by clicking here.
An SIU spokesperson who worked closely with the project said of their experience, “I just wanted to let you know how pleased we are with the Launcht platform. It was attractive to our target group and easy to use, and integrated perfectly into our overall competition structure. We plan on using it again! And your continuous and patient support throughout the process was also greatly appreciated.”