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Spring 2021 Innovation Challenge

Challenge Overview

The Spring 2021 Innovation Challenge is part of the Innovation Challenge series, an ideation competition managed by the CSUSM Innovation Hub. The goal of this program is to foster real-life solutions to specific challenges in our communities. During the challenge, students and teams will use their creativity to develop an innovative product, service, or program and present their ideas to be judged by a panel of innovative and entrepreneurial experts. The Spring 2021 Innovation Challenge ideas might include solutions to impacts from new regulations, changes to culture and social attitudes, and changes to resources and technology. The challenge is to design a unique solution in the form of a product, technology, service, or program that meets the identified organizational need. The Innovation Hub Spring 2021 Innovation Challenge awards a winning student team with a cash prize. Non-student participation is welcome as part of a CSUSM student founded team.  

The Challenge 

There will be two Spring 2021 Innovation Challenge tracks this year. Students may enter a submissions into either or both tracks. 

  • The first track will focus on student food insecurity and homelessness, increased by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than half of CSUSM students will face food and/or housing insecurity. This is a staggering statistic, and the number is higher when you take the COVID-19 pandemic into consideration. “Students ... are struggling with housing insecurity. They’ve lost their places to live because they’ve lost their jobs. They can no longer afford where they are living and need help to find a place that is cheaper or just finding someone to live with,” said Bonnie Campbell, the CARE manager of the Cougar Care Network. With the pandemic, the world has changed, and how we approach solutions to those issues must change with it. Innovative thinking to long-term social solutions must be part of the answer. And innovation is what the CSUSM Innovation Hub Challenge is all about. To ensure that the Innovation Hub Challenge will be impactful, we will be providing opportunities for presentations by the City of San Marcos, the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce and multiple nonprofit organizations that specialize in hunger and homelessness, in addition to campus student resources like the Cougar Care Network and the Cougar Pantry. In this challenge, students search for new problems that will alleviate or solve food insecurity or homelessness challenges that students face.
  • The second track is open-topic and can focus on any innovative idea that helps overcome a current or future challenge that might include impacts from new regulations, changes to culture and social attitudes or changes to resources and technology. The project goal is to design a unique solution in the form of a product, technology, service, or program that meets the identified organizational need.


Spring 2021 Timeline

Challenge Application Opens - February 15, 2021

Application Closes - May 7, 2021

Announce Top 10 - May 14, 2021

Mentoring Sessions - May 17 - 21, 2021

Video Presentation - May 24, 2021

Winner Announced - May 28, 2021

Submission

Students may enter a maximum of one submission for each track. For more information about submission guidelines, click here.

To submit your Spring 2021 Innovation Challenge Application click here.

For more information, please contact us at innovation@csusm.edu.