Imagine Cup 2011 Malaysia Final Preparation

1 more week before the Imagine Cup 2011 Malaysia local final kick off at Kuching, Sarawak. Just 1 more week before I can see the great ideas bring by students this year. I so excited! I never been to Sarawak before, so this double the excitement. I can’t wait!

Previously I see a lot of good idea bring by the competitors, but the presentation they gave cannot full express their idea thus miss a lot of points. Just 1 more weeks left, competitor shouldn’t focusing on their development any more, but shift their focus on their presentation more.

I want to share my personal experience on imagine cup presentation . This is my personal point of view and it is NOT related with any Malaysia final round guideline or what so ever. I would said, take it as a reference only.

  • Presentation script / storyboard. It is highly recommended to script what to present or write a presentation storyboard.  A good presentation start with a good planning.  Carefully plan what should be included in the script because presentation time given is limited.
  • Creativity! Start with problem then solution, this simple presentation no longer work. Put in some creativity like role playing to make the whole presentation as smooth like watching a movie yet provide audiences with all information about the solution thought the movie. Let’s give the judges some surprises through out the “show” and prevent them from falling asleep.
  • Practice make perfect. There is no short-cut to make a perfect presentation. Practice until you remember the script without the paper, no more la, lu, lo, ok, a, etc. A smooth presentation is possible only if a lot of practice is done, so go practice the script even you are in the washroom!
  • Make it simple. The judges usually came from different professional field with different background. Most of the judges are from business background instead of technical background. Instead of explain a long detail how the algorithm work, competitor should tell how this algorithm can solve the problem and give a better impact compare if without this algorithm.
  • Prepare for Q&A. Try brainstorm questions that judges will ask after listen to your presentation. For example like detail break down of cost, competitor analysis and etc. If those information that judges ask for did not cover or not detail enough in the presentation, put all in the appendix slide. Surprise your judges that you are fully prepare to answer any question they might throw to you. Try to do several rounds of presentation to others before final like lecturers, you might collect ton of interesting questions for final presentation Q&A preparation.
  • Project sustainability / Business value. Hot question that will definably ask by the judges. It is highly recommended to show how the project can sustain during the presentation, for example by government funded, collaboration with business partner, by startup and etc. Try to avoid becoming open source as the reason for your project sustainability, because only a few open source projects are able to sustain and most judges knew that. Be sure you have the prove if you said your project is funded by some organization. “Project build to solve the millennium goal, but unable to sustain themselves; it soon will becoming another millennium problem.“, quote from one of the judges during Imagine Cup 2009 Malaysia final.
  • Competitor analysis. Another hot question ask by judges. Do a simple search whatever there are some similar solution out there or not. If there exist similar solution, do a competitor analysis or you can even compare with old method with your new solution. don’t assume the judges know nothing about other products out there, they knew it. Show why your solution is more better than others, what feature your solution have while others don’t.
  • Research, research and research. A statement without proof are merely just a sentence. It is always better to tell “XX,XXX number of people killed by TB and $X,XXX,XXX had been spend on this each year.” then “Many people killed by TB and many money spend on this each year.”. Judges usually only believe on real number. Please DO NOT create those fact by yourself. If your application interface also did some research according to user feedback, that is also a research, show it!
  • Backup plan. Always have one or two backup plan in case something go wrong. Prepare a backup machine, video record your software solution (especially for application that required Internet connection), have a local hosted server (if your web is hosting at other places on the Internet), take all installation software needed, bring your own wireless broadband and etc. Murphy’s law – ”Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”.
  • Don’t distribute booklet for the judges! It is very commonly to see presenter distribute booklet or something for the judges to read before presentation start. This distract the judges concentration on your presentation as some of judges might reading your booklet when you presenting. You always have the chances to disturb booklet or provide more information to them when they visit your booth.

Phew, another long list, I hope some competitor really spend some time read out. I really hope the quality of Imagine Cup 2011 Malaysia can be improve. My camera are ready to capture the picture and my blog are ready to tell some story of Imagine Cup team. See them in 7 more days!

by Ooi Keng Siang via Ooiks’s Blog

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