IMG_1220I think many students think you have to solve world hunger or cure malaria to win the Imagine Cup. All it really takes is one idea and a few passionate students.

Think of the many problems faced by the underprivileged, the sick, the poor, the hungry, the environment, local charities, schools, disaster relief agencies.

Think of the technology we have available to us today: Kinect, Azure, Windows Phone, Windows Live, Windows embedded, Windows 8!

Is there a problem you can imagine helping to solve using those technologies? or a phone game you can design themed or inspired by them?

Can you help

  • inspire others to preserve our incredible natural resources?
  • kids who are falling behind in math or language?
  • the local Boys & Girls club help kids into higher skilled jobs?
  • First Nations communities preserve their heritage and language?
  • remote communities stay connected and receive better services?
  • the local food bank or local blood services with their drives?
  • groups of like minded people work together to solve bigger problems?

What matters to you? Take a minute to think about problems that have touched your life or left you thinking “how could I help.” Maybe you have a friend with Muscular Dystrophy who could be guided in physical exercises with a Kinect, or you were touched by the massive response to the disaster in Haiti or forest fires in Kelowna a few years back and want to figure out a tool that would help connect rescue crews or help communicate with people in affected areas so they know where to evacuate or find emergency services, maybe you were bullied as a kid and want to create a support network to help other kids who are being bullied now.

The options are limited only by your imagination. When you enter the Imagine Cup, you have a chance to try to help others with your imagination and skills. I think sometimes we feel intimidated because it is such a big competition, but don’t be! If you read up on the judging criteria under IMPACT, you are scored highly for either helping a lot of people a little bit, or by helping a few people in a big way. You already know how to code, now you just have to apply those skills you have learned to solving a problem that will help others. It’s not that hard…

Step 1 – Register as an individual or as part of a team, make sure your school is part of Imagine Cup!

Step 2 – Find a mentor to help you out, professors, industry, or someone at a local charity could all be potential mentors

Step 3 – Come up with an idea!

Step 4 – Compete – Round One is really just about submitting the idea. But you need to register soon!

Deadline for Round One Windows Phone Game Design is February 14, Round One Software Design is March 13th

6 teams of students will be on stage at the Imagine Cup Finals in Toronto representing their schools. One team will represent Canada in Australia? Why not you?