Meeting the IMAGINE CUP CHAMPS

July 26, 2011 at 2:22 am Leave a comment

During the past ten years, the Imagine Cup has held its Worldwide Finals all over the globe. This year, it was held in New York City, USA last July 8-13, 2011.  From its modest beginnings back in 2003, the competition has grown to include more than 358,000 registered students from 183 countries/regions.

Two teams from the Philippines were global finalists this year:  Team Polymor.ph for the Software Design Category and Team Signum Fidei for the Game Design Category. Proudly,  Team Signum Fidei  grabbed 2nd place in its category.  And, Ayala Foundation’s Innovation Forum last July 26 at the Filipinas Heritage Library featured them to talk about the product, the innovation, inspiration and overall experience they had. The Innovation Forum is a regular networking platform run by the AyalaTBI Program and is a venue where technology advocates, start-ups, academe, researchers, VCs and policy makers meet. Last July 26, despite Tropical Storm Juaning’s heavy rains, the forum was held and attended by a number of enthusiasts who braved the rains and the heavy traffic to interact with not only Team Signum Fidei but also Team By Implication who was the Philippine team that emerged global champion in the same category in the 2010 Imagine Cup in Poland.

Team Signum Fidei was represented by its mentor, Professor Lesley Abe and their sole Graphic Art Designer Mr. Kev Hernandez, a second year college student, all from De La Salle University.  The team’s winning entry was the game  ‘Conjuct’. Conjunct, which literally means to join together, was patterned after the game Tetris. With the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) as the major problems to deal with, Conjunct was designed to raise social awareness on the specific MDGs and the resources needed to address the problems through the puzzle pieces that the game player had to manipulate with. The game, which was built in HTML 5 technology and runs on Internet Explorer, also comes with a fast learning curve and caters to everyone, no matter what age or technical capacity.

A back-to-back feature was done with the 2010 Imagine Cup Champion in Poland. Another proudly Filipino team, Team by Implication comprised of interscholastic representatives from three (3) schools – Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University and University of the Philippines – emerged global champion in the 2010 Game Design category.  With the same theme of: Technology that Solves the World’s Toughest Problems based on the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, Team By Implication’s winning entry was Wildfire.  The game play is to challenge the players to organize large groups of people in addressing MDGs and gather resources (for more info, please visit http://wildfire.byimplication.com/).

While the two teams’ shared their experiences and learning from the competition, their views on gaming, digital media, potential use and applications of their games in society, the Philippines and the world were discussed. A number of industry representatives in the audience keenly followed the future plans of the teams. Representatives from UN agencies, USAID funded projects, academe and civil society were eager to know simulation applications to help in-country leaders address MDG targets. Another important aspect discussed was the educational and awareness raising potential of the games that both implementing and grant making agencies like the World Bank and UN system would be interested in.  On the enterprise road map, Team By Implication has formed and registered into a company and ready to tighten their business plan and see what growth trajectory is possible for them. Team Signum Fidei, on the other hand, was just formed as a team in January this year and is open to forming into a company once the team members are done with school. The challenge thrown their way was how they could maximize the product and innovation they did for all the possible applications that the audience shared with them. One member of the audience, inspired by the Wildfire presentation, made cost estimates on how much seed money can be raised to venture into simulation applications.

The event was capped with Microsoft’s Director of Developer and Platform Evangelism, Mr. Alvin Gendrano mentioning Imagine Cup as a way for Filipino students to use their creativity, imagination, and brainpower to open up a world of opportunities. Participants from companies such as LINC-EG-USAID, Asian Social Enterprise Incubator, Mo Anima, Namfrel, World Food Program, IMI, Brain Gain Network, AIM, and Mabuhay One TechPark continued discussions and networking with team members in the cocktails right after.

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Entry filed under: Innovation Forum.

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