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Microsoft Imagine Cup Malaysia 2010, A Recap

I feel very honored to be invited over to the 2010 edition of Imagine Cup Malaysia Finals held in Langkawi, the Legendary Island as a guest. Previously, I had two good years as a participant in 2008 and 2009, both in Kuala Lumpur. This year, it is the grandest of them all featuring 29 teams for both public and private universities as well as university-colleges with 4 special awards apart from the exclusive Top 3.

It is amazing to see how Imagine Cup in Malaysia has evolved, from a very unknown competition back in 2008 to a mammoth, media-frenzy, student-crazy competition. Kudos to the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE), Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM) as the organizer, Microsoft Malaysia as well as the support from MDeC. IMHO, without MoHE’s support, I don’t think Imagine Cup Malaysia can be this successful — in terms of participation and as well as the scale of the competition. I hope the Ministry and other partners will carry on with their utmost support for this competition in years to come. I’m very positive about it. So, who are the champs?

The Winners

Champion: Team HDC (APIIT-UCTI) — Project Apple
First Runner-up: Team Celestial (USM) — MiDS
Second Runner-up: Medialab Studio (UMP) — Eco Bumi

Special Awards

Best Team Presentation: Team HDC (APIIT-UCTI)
Coolest Application: Celestial (USM)
MDeC Most Promising Solution: Cyber MarksMan (UPNM)
Best Implementation of Multipoint: Cyber Knight (APIIT-UCTI)

Consolation (Top 7 Teams)

Beginner (TARC) — Green Reconnect
Cyber MarksMan (UPNM) — Search And Rescue Tactical Management System  (SARTaMS)
Hello World (UPM) — SAFER
Marshmellow (USM) — Traveler Health Awareness Tracker

*Team HDC will represent Malaysia in the Worldwide Finals in Poland this July.

My Two Cents

Here are my brief, personal comments:

  • Lots of cool, creative projects — games, multi touch, great user experience, nice design but still lack of usability. UI & UX must be specific for your users.
  • There are still projects that try to solve all MDGs with only one solution. Bro, impossible la.
  • Some projects focusing on wrong MDGs, or I should say not really targeting on the MDGs. Must know the main goal of your project as well as who are the users.
  • Many projects lack of user research, pilot test. This is a MUST! This shows that you really dig into the problem and not just mere assumption and your users really benefiting from your project.
  • Still lack of creative presentation. But the are some creative ones.
  • No business sustainability. There are teams argue that solving the world’s toughest problems requires no money “UN, the Gov, NGOs will support me for sure” If your project is a Gov pet project, fine! Else find a biz model for your project! I still remember a comment for a judge last year, Dash “You will be part of the MDGs’ problem if you don’t have a business model to sustain your project”. Very true! Gov & NGOs will not support if you are also part of the problem.
  • “This is my idea (or this & that team’s idea), why that & this team have the same (or copy my) idea?” Oh boy, there are only 8 MGDs, ideas might collide. Others might solving the same problem. It’s not the matter who copy who or having the same idea with others, what matters is the execution, implementation and the innovation of the solution from the idea.
  • Not enough effort & preparation. This is very obvious, teams do last minute slide edit, coding, script, etc. Imagine Cup is the Olympics of technology. You have well prepared and give in everything, even 1% counts. This is how my team won the D4D Awards last year in Egypt.

Disclaimer: This is my personal thoughts and have no intention to hurt any teams or targeting specific teams/projects. I’m speaking on behalf of myself, generally.

P.S. Pictures of this competition available on IC Malaysia Facebook page.

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