Students Innovate and Invent in 24-Hour Challenge

Innovention Winning Team
General Inventors: Teague Hatfield, Greg Wirth, Alec Reed, and Nathan Ducey

On April 5-6, 2014, 28 SEAS students participated in INNOVENTION, a 24-hour competition that tested students’ resourcefulness, creativity, and business knowledge. The event was organized by Dr. Vladmir Labay and Toni Boggan with support from students Paige Bernier, Katie Neal, and Tyler Pattison.

Guest speaker Ed Dougherty, Villanova University’s Director of Engineering Entrepreneurship, mentored students throughout the weekend as their ideas moved towards inventions. Their initial challenge was open-ended: invent a solution to a problem. Students were sent to various locations on and around Gonzaga's campus to observe potential issues at these locations and interview bystanders about their experience.

Teams synthesized their observations into four 60-second Concept Presentations, and then further narrowed down their ideas for Elevator Pitches with Career Center Director and GAMP Assistant Director Mary Heitkemper as judges. Teams received points if clearly explained their problem and solution, captured the potential investor’s attention, shared contact information, and provided the investor with a "call-to-action" by the end of the elevator ride.

“I want the students to learn how to be resilient when faced with challenges and to be able to sell their ideas,” explained Toni Boggan, Academic Director of The Center for Engineering Design & Entrepreneurship. “They’re so busy with the technical work that they don’t often have time to focus on better presentation skills.”

After competing in high-energy flash challenges for extra points, students had the night to prepare their final invention for the second day's activities. Following a trade show displaying their products and business plans, teams made a final presentation for a panel of local judges with expertise in engineering, technology, business, and marketing.

At the end of the weekend, the team with the most points was General Inventors. Team members Teague Hatfield, Greg Wirth, Alec Reed, and Nathan Ducey (left) won the $1,000 prize with their invention, The Sound Barrier, which would protect urban citizens from noise pollution associated construction, outside concerts, or other loud events.