CIG searches for innovative solutions to local problems

Idea Contest being retooled to focus on issues facing the immediate community

In years past, the Center of Innovation and Growth (CIG) has held the BW Start Something Idea Contest to highlight some of Baldwin Wallace’s brightest innovators.

However, this year’s contest is revamped to provide emphasis on local problems affecting us currently.

The Idea Contest at BW, in previous years, was an open-ended competition where students and faculty could submit an idea under the either the social enterprise, start-up, or idea categories for BW.

This year’s contest has a unique twist to it.

The revamped contest includes three pictures that are used as prompts for submissions. The first picture depicts an image of litter strewn in Lake Erie.

The second picture depicts smart devices and social media.

Lastly, the third picture features the Union at BW.

These three images prompt a potential participant to think of a problem related to one of the photos and come up with a solution as their idea for the contest.

Of course, the goal of the prompts is not to hamper anyone’s creative mind, so if a student or faculty member has an idea they want to share that is unrelated to the three images, it is still able to be submitted.

According to feedback of the competition in previous years, many students wanted to participate in the contest, but did not know where to start when coming up with submissions, said Hannah Schlueter, LaunchNET program manager.

Schleuter said students provided feedback about about wanting to participate in the competition. However, many students claimed that they were not sure where to start with their idea, which led to the creation of the picture prompt idea.

In addition, Schlueter said the contest had yet to go through its first revision, so it was due for a change.

Linda Kanner, entrepreneur-in-residence at the CIG and adjunct professor for the School of Business, has been a judge for the contest in the past and said she liked the idea of the picture prompts.

“We all see something different in pictures, just as entrepreneurs see different problems and generate different ideas,” said Kanner.

The CIG wanted three different concepts that students and faculty could resonate with or relate to, Schlueter said. The first being litter, which is a problem whether one is from Cleveland or somewhere else, Schlueter said.

The next prompt, social media, is prevalent in nearly everyone’s life. The goal of the social media prompt was to receive information on the students’ perspectives in regards to problems with social media, said Schlueter.

The third picture prompt is meant to be kept broader with a picture of BW. This is because there can be a lot of different challenges or obstacles that students and faculty are facing.

There are a lot of things that encompass the student experience, so this allows students and faculty to share what they think about it, Schlueter said.

The satisfaction of winning the contest is not the only benefit of having a winning idea.

There is also prize money for winners and runner-ups of each category and weekly raffle drawings for submissions to win door prizes.

“Part of the college experience is being able to try new things out on your own,” Schlueter said. “The Start Something BW Idea Contest is a great way to practice doing something that is uniquely you.”

Junior Accounting major Bryce Posner heard about the contest from his Biomimicry class. He and his three group members came up with an idea for a water bottle that is anti-freezing, lightweight, moldable, and easy to use.

Their idea won first place for the Social Enterprise category last year.

“It is an easy and fun way to put your ideas out there,” Posner said, “plus it’s a good opportunity to get exposure to the sea of curiosity and the world of entrepreneurship.”

Kanner said the judges are looking for, “Creative ideas that address a problem, large or small, and creative solutions.”

The contest runs through October with a deadline of Oct. 31 at 11:59 p.m.

Ideas can be submitted online, with a link found under the CIG webpage on

There is no limit on the number of times students and faculty can submit a