March 3, 2007

As part of Stanford’s inaugural Entrepreneurship Week, some friends and I participated in the Innovation Challenge. The goal of the competition was to create as much value (defined however we saw fit—monetary, social, entertainment) from a simple object in exactly one week. This was not to be theoretical value, the judges actually expected teams to raise money if they chose to pursue monetary value, for example.

This year’s object was a pack of 100 Post-it notes.

Our team (which was largely a group of students in MS&E 175: Creativity, Innovation, and Change) decided that trying to create monetary value would not only be difficult in one week, but that using the Post-its to create a combination of social and entertainment value would probably be our best bet at winning the competition.

Since green-tech and energy conservation are an increasingly hot topic on campus, we decided to walk that line. With the two statistics below in mind, we set out to create an entertaining/educationl/motivational video:

1. If all students set their computers to sleep when inactive, it would save Stanford over $500,000 per year.
2. Plugged-in appliances that are not on account for nearly 5% of electricity consumption at Stanford.

Our final submission was a short stop-motion video called “Unplug-it.” The message of the clip is that students can conserve a significant amount of energy (and money) by unplugging their appliances when not in use over extended periods of time. Obvioulsy it’s not realistic to expect people to unplug their dorm-room appliances while they’re in class so we encouraged students to take action over their spring breaks while they are out of the dorms for about a week. Doing so would save hundreds of thousands of dollars or more in electricity costs.

Over 90 teams registered at Stanford. 50 submitted projects and 29 were chosen as semi-finalists. Of those teams, nine were chosen as finalists and winners. As you may have guessed, our team got to finals and won. 🙂

We are now sentenced to lunch and Deathball with the Draper Fisher Jurvetson team. I’m really curious to know what Deathball is…no one seems to know.

One Response to “Unplug-it.”

  1. […] Founders at Work March 20th, 2007 I’ve just started reading Founders at Work and I’ve got to say I love it for the most part. I’ve read four of the interviews so far. The one with Max Levchin (founder at PayPal) was incredibly interesting, as was the one with Sabeer Bhatia (founder at Hotmail). It was somewhat shocking (but at the same time not entirely surprising) to hear about the funding problems with DFJ. I’m tempted to ask Tim Draper about it at our upcoming lunch. […]

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