by Daniel Fetsko ’19 CE
Thirty-six students. Five teams. Twenty-four hours. The goal? To come up with an idea and develop it into a product or service with a comprehensive design and business plan, in order to present it to a panel of judges in the “Cat Cage” at the end of those 24 hours. The reward? In addition to prizes for the top three finishers, all participants gain valuable experience working as a team to achieve a common goal. Welcome to Imagination Quest (IQ) 2015!
24-Hour IQ began at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 14, with students organizing themselves into teams, and ended at 1:00 p.m. the next day with presentations to the judging panel. Sponsored by Villanova’s Engineering Entrepreneurship program through the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN), the 4th annual IQ once again attracted a variety of students: 21 from Villanova University (19 from the College of Engineering, two from the Villanova School of Business), as well as five Industrial Design graduate students from Philadelphia University, and 10 engineering students from the University of New Haven (UNH).
The event begins with each team spending time on campus to observe and identify opportunities where they could design a product or service to benefit the everyday user. After coming up with three different ideas, teams traverse the campus once again, this time to ask students, faculty and staff which product they think would be the most useful. After eliminating one of the three ideas, the final task on Saturday is for each team to prepare an elevator pitch for the judges, which is literally delivered in the elevator of the College of Engineering Education and Research building. Teams then select the idea they will proceed with, based on the judges’ feedback. On Sunday, the students build prototypes and develop logos for their product before participating in a trade show to market their idea. Lastly, each team enters the “Cat Cage” —Villanova’s own version of “Shark Tank”—to make one final presentation to the judges who then decide the winners.