Today was ICE Challenge Day in my class, one of my favorite days of the year.
The sponsor of the Challenge is Villanova’s own ICE Institute, where ICE stands for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship. Here is a brief description of the Challenge:
The ICE Challenge is an annual requirement for all students entering the Villanova School of Business, Villanova College of Engineering, and Villanova College of Nursing. In the first eight weeks of the academic year, students propose and pitch ideas in their required first-year classes. The top teams receive prizes and an opportunity to pitch their idea at the ICE Challenge IdeaBounce®.
I had the opportunity to listen to 40 idea pitches today, and in a sign of the times, 10 of the ideas were in direct response to the pandemic and COVID-19. Here are those ideas:
- Mask dispensing machine
- SafeStep (designed to assist with opening doors)
- Mask Sanitizing Machine
- Contactless Bathroom
- Mask Managers
- Germ Buffer
- Mask Cleaner
- Mobile Haircutting/Manicures
- Clean Screen
So 25% of the ideas are COVID/Pandemic related; ideas that would not have existed last year.
I think this shows that COVID is certainly on many of the students’ minds, and it’s no surprise. After all, this is the group that missed out on the end of their high school days. They did not know what college would be like, and have adapted quite well so far in terms of wearing masks and sanitizing their chairs and seats.
And now when they are given the opportunity to fight back, they do so with some clever ideas.
It will be interesting to see if any of the ideas progress on the next round of the C\hallenge; I will write a follow-up when the finalists are announced.
Some people look at COVID-19 and see the problems; others look at COVID-19 and see the opportunities…
*image from FoxNews