Big Ideas@Berkeley Toolkit

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

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Big Ideas@Berkeley is a year-long, annual student innovation contest aimed at providing funding, support, and encouragement to interdisciplinary teams of University of California undergraduate and graduate students who have creative solutions to address pressing social, environmental, or economic challenges. 

Since the Contest’s founding seven years ago, the Blum Center has continually modified the design and management of the Contest, and as a result, has learned a great deal about successful and unsuccessful strategies for supporting student-led innovation. Thanks to continuous reflection and iterative change, the Blum Center has developed a proven, replicable model for managing innovation contests on university campuses.

This Big Ideas Toolkit describes these proven contest management strategies, along with our lessons learned, best practices, and honest reflections on the process of managing a student-led innovation contest. It is intended as a living document rather than a finished publication. As the Contest grows, the Toolkit will be informed and updated based on new activities and feedback from students and our partners.

Specifically, the Toolkit shares the goals of Big Ideas and how the Contest has been intentionally designed to meet those goals. Along with an overview of how the Contest is managed, the Toolkit contains an appendix of the tools that are used each Contest year (e.g., student application requirements, recruitment emails to judges, judging scorecards, evaluation surveys) that can be replicated or adapted to fit the needs of Big Ideas Contests at other colleges and universities.

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