Microsoft announced the field today for its 11th annual Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals, which will be held in July in St. Petersburg, Russia. The full list and profiles of the 86 teams — more than 300 students from 69 countries — is available on the Imagine Cup website.
Longtime GeekDad and GeekMom readers know we’re fans of the annual technology innovation contest, for reasons nicely captured by Imagine Cup Competition Manager John Scott Tynes in a recent telephone interview: “It’s always been about inspiring students around the world to dream big and do awesome stuff,” he said. “We’re not giving them a test or an algorithm or a problem to solve. Have an idea, execute it, and show us what you’ve got.”
The teams are tasked with designing projects built on Microsoft technology that fall into one of three categories: innovation, games, and world citizenship.
“Until this year, Imagine Cup has required all projects to have an overt social good component,” Tynes said. “But we found that our focus was so narrow that we excluded a lot of … projects that have a broader scope, like allowing people to communicate online.”
The competitive structure of the finals has also changed for 2013. All the teams will present their projects to the judges on day one, then field inquiries from the judges exploring the competition hall and following up on day two. By not eliminating teams during the competition, Tynes said, everyone stays engaged and energized until the winners are announced at the awards ceremony on day three.
Hosting the awards ceremony on July 11? That job belongs to Matt Smith.
GeekDad plans to cover this year’s competition and share some of the stories about this year’s students and their projects leading up to the Worldwide Finals. It should be a fun and inspiring ride.