Innovation

Isaac L. Auerbach Fourth Annual Innovation Competition & Award 2019-2020

The fourth annual Isaac L. Auerbach Innovation Competition and Award, which exemplifies the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship at the College of Computing & Informatics (CCI), seeks to recognize the culture of innovation in our CCI community. The competition is open to all currently employed CCI faculty, professional staff and currently enrolled students. Collaboration among faculty, professional staff and students is encouraged.

We are seeking your best innovative and actionable ideas, which can help to develop new ways to significantly improve CCI along the dimensions of College priorities.

To apply for this competition and award, please complete the business case form, which will be submitted via Qualtrics. Details about the application process follow.


I. The CCI 2019-2020 Innovation Priority: Community Building

For the 2019-2020 competition, we are focusing on a singular theme: Community Building. Many of the opportunities that CCI has in the area community building include creative use of our state-of-the-art space, a dynamic student experience and a unified College culture. These areas require novel approaches and out-of-the-box thinking to make them meaningful and impactful.

Established in 2017, the CCI Isaac L. Auerbach Innovation Competition and Award helps to fuel the ideas that address these challenges and opportunities while encouraging and celebrating creativity among faculty, professional staff and students. The goal for the College is to foster and sustain a culture of innovation, with this competition as the cornerstone of this effort.

As you develop your business case for your innovative concept, please focus on the overarching Community Building theme. You are welcome to consider innovations in any of the following areas. Please keep in mind that these are broad topics and areas in which to formulate your innovations. They are only meant to guide and not overwhelm nor limit your ideas.

Examples of community building initiatives and activities could include (but are not limited to):

  • Meetups for faculty, professional staff and students around certain activities or hobbies
  • Celebrations for the College organized world events (eg, Olympics) or holidays
  • Outreach and engagement from CCI to our local West Philadelphia community

How Can We Build a Vibrant CCI Community? A vibrant community is one in which individuals are engaged and committed to one another through shared responsibility.

As you develop your business case for your innovative concept, please focus on the overarching Community Building theme. You are welcome to consider innovations in any of the following areas. Please keep in mind that these are broad topics and areas in which to formulate your innovations. They are only meant to guide and not overwhelm nor limit your ideas.

  1. Create a Welcoming Space
    1. CCI has been in our new location at 3675 Market Street since April 2019. Our goal is to foster an environment that is welcoming, collaborative and innovative. What creative ways can you suggest to use and activate space throughout the College? What resources can be employed to create an energized and productive space? How can we use our space to create community?
  2. Create a Collaborative Culture
    1. How can we make CCI the best it can be? Are there opportunities to better connect faculty, professional staff, students and alumni to collaborate and learn from one another? How do we harness our individual talents and energy to benefit the CCI community? Can we create a College-wide common focus to reach our goals? How can we connect socially to create a sense of togetherness and commonality? How can we welcome others to our community?
  3. Enhance the Student Experience
    The student experience reflects every aspect of student life. Students are at the center of everything we do in CCI and our community of learning. This area is two-fold.
    1. From the student perspective: Are there programs or support systems that could enrich your experience at CCI? Are there issues you’ve encountered that you can propose a solution for? How can the College leadership better engage with student groups and students? How can we improve your campus experience, through events or other ideas?
    2. From the College perspective: Can we further engage undergraduate students in research? Can we employ active learning strategies in coursework? Can we identify ways for faculty and students to grow our learning community? Can we incorporate civic engagement and service learning into the student experience?

II. Application Process

This competition and award is open to all currently employed CCI faculty and professional staff, and currently enrolled students. To apply, submit a business case for your proposal via web form on the Qualtrics site by Wednesday, February 26, 2020. All eligible submissions will be collected, anonymized, vetted and then posted for crowd voting. Winners will be decided by a combination of the most crowd votes and feedback from the Selection Committee.

Supplemental materials will also be accepted; however, they will only be made available to the Selection Committee should a project move forward to the final round. Supplemental materials may include a reference list, project diagram/photo and other documents or visuals that help illustrate and illuminate your ideas.

Key Dates
Competition opens: Monday, January 6, 2020 (submission portal opens)
Submission deadline: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 by 11:59 p.m. EST
Crowd voting opens: Monday, March 2, 2020
Crowd voting closes: Friday, March 13, 2020
Selection committee reviews: Monday, March 23, 2020
Decisions/Winner(s) notified via email and posted on the CCI website: Mid-April 2020
CCI Honors & Awards Event: Mid-May 2020

Funding and Selection Process
Funding level and award distribution: A total of up to $12,500 will be awarded with no single award being more than $2,500. Proposers can be an individual or team. In the case of an award-winning team, funding will be split equally among the team members. The winning project(s) will be selected by a combination of the most crowdsourced votes and feedback from the Selection Committee. The Selection Committee will be composed of faculty, professional staff, students and alumni. Decisions of the Selection Committee are final. All eligible submissions will be anonymized, vetted, and posted for voting. Award winners will be notified in writing via email, posted on the CCI website and recognized by the College.

Submission Eligibility and Rules
Currently employed CCI faculty and professional staff, and currently enrolled students are eligible to apply. No lobbying of ideas to CCI colleagues or peers will be permitted. This will lead to disqualification from the competition. All submissions must be original to the submitter and not defamatory or libelous. Any fraudulent submissions or activity will result in immediate disqualification. Submissions must include a title, an abstract, (limit 1000 characters), to address the following categories:

  • Problem Statement (750 characters)
  • Innovative Idea (750 characters)
  • Business Plan (750 characters)
  • Outcome (750 characters)

You may also include supplemental materials along with your submission. Supplemental materials will not be available to the community during crowd voting. These materials will only be made available to the Selection Committee in the final round of voting.

Supplemental materials should be limited to two PDF pages and may include documents or visuals that help illustrate and illuminate your ideas. Examples of supplemental materials include; reference list; project diagram/photo; raw data; data sets and data tables used to support your project.

Evaluation Criteria

Winning innovations will be awarded based on their idea(s) and not the actual implementation of the innovation. Implementation of the idea(s) is at the discretion of CCI’s Senior Leadership team. Winning innovations should demonstrate a combination of the following characteristics:

  • Considered situations and problems from novel and diverse perspectives; addressed challenges in an innovative manner
  • Developed imaginative ideas to drive the organization forward; came up with creative, new ways of doing things
  • Questioned existing assumptions and beliefs; encouraged people to think or alternative ways of doing things
  • Approached innovation with a practical, task-oriented mindset

III. FAQs

  1. Who is considered a currently enrolled CCI student? A currently enrolled CCI student is defined as an Undergraduate, Graduate or Doctoral level student actively seeking a degree offered by the college. Students with only CCI Undergraduate or Graduate minors declared as well as Certificate and Exploratory Study students are not eligible to submit proposals at this time.
  2. Can I submit supplemental materials with my application? You may submit up to two pages of a PDF file to support your proposal. The attachments are limited to a reference list, project diagram/photo, raw data, data sets and data tables used to support your project. Attachments that do not meet these criteria will be discarded and will not be considered as part of your submission. Supplemental materials will not be available to the community during crowd voting. These materials will only be made available to the Selection Committee in the final round of voting.
  3. Can my award submission be discussed? Can I talk about my submission? You can talk about your innovative idea(s) before you submit them, but not after you complete your submission.
  4. Is there a limit to the number of submissions I can make? There is no submission limit.
  5. Can I resubmit a past project? Yes, project resubmissions and revisions are encouraged. We have received many great ideas that were not initially selected but could be reconsidered in following competition rounds.
  6. Who’s on the Committee? Will that be announced? The Selection Committee will be composed of some of the members of the College leadership team, along with faculty, students and professional staff. This Committee has not been appointed yet. The Committee will be announced once it is formed. The Dean’s Leadership Team has collectively decided not to submit for this award.
  7. Can the Selection Committee submit for this award? The Selection Committee has not been appointed yet. We ask that anyone who submits for the award and makes it past the crowd voting round recuses themselves as a judge.
  8. Is the money taxed? How will it be received? Yes. The funds will be taxed. Prizes for faculty and professional staff will be processed through Drexel University’s Payroll department and will be received in your paycheck. Non-exempt staff are required to document hours devoted to the project for compensation purposes.
  9. I’m a student. How will I receive my award? If you have been employed by Drexel University within the last calendar year, payment will go through the Payroll department and will be sent by direct deposit (if setup) or a check will be mailed to the home address on file. All other students will be required to fill out tax forms in order to process payment and a check will be mailed to your listed address.
  10. What if I’m no longer employed or enrolled at CCI at the time of the award? Only currently employed CCI faculty and professional staff and currently enrolled CCI students can be awarded.
  11. Does it cost anything to submit? No.
  12. Are there limits to my submission? Submissions must include an abstract (limit 1000 characters), problem statement (limit 750 characters), innovative idea (limit 750 characters), business plan (limit 750 characters), and outcome (limit 750 characters).
  13. I have a question about the award. Who should I contact? Please send an email to CCIInnovation@drexel.edu