Our brilliant World Citizenship Captain, Rob Miles, provided the following insights on getting started with the World Citizenship Competition. But his suggestions really apply to every Imagine Cup contest! If you are in the planning phase or still trying to decide if you should compete, take a few minutes to read Rob's thoughtful tips on how to get your project started:

To get started all you need is a team and an idea. In fact, you don't really need the idea at the start. Just the team. Get together, find out what you are all interested in, who can do what, strengths and weaknesses. And then look around you for a problem to help to solve. You might not have to look far. If you put the word out that you are eager to help solve problems for people you might end up overwhelmed by the number of requests that you get.

If you still can't get that crucial idea then you can try "doodling" with software and systems. Take something you know a bit about and get something working. Just the fact that you can get data from one device to another, or send texts, or capture images and put them onto a server, or track GPS position (or all of these things) can come in handy. Once you have some systems working and some people with problems you can see what solutions you can make.

Look for something simple that you can do that really helps. Try using a new device to help an existing solution. Ask yourself what would happen if you could move a solution onto a mobile platform, or connect people together in a new way. Don't think that an idea is something that will just drop on you from afar. Think of it as a beautiful gemstone that you have to get by looking through plies of rock, finding a rough crystal and then polishing and refining it.

Once you have your idea for the application, your beautiful gem, keep its beauty pure. Don't feel tempted to add lots of extras. You need to be careful that any extra parts that you add to your solution really do make it better. Otherwise, you can lose your idea, in the same way that a large ugly frame can ruin a beautiful, simple picture.

Thank you again to our invaluable, long time Imagine Cup volunteer, Professor Rob Miles from the University of Hull in England. If you have questions about his insights above or the World Citizenship competition, contact Rob by signing in to our Community Forums.