The ICF Olson Innovation Challenge 2017: A Sneak Peek

Curious about what we’ve been up to? Read on for an update about this year’s ICF Olson Innovation Challenge.

We’re back! After a few months of putting our heads together and presenting in front of a panel of judges, us ICF Olson-ers are excited to share what we’ve been up to during the 2017 edition of the Innovation Challenge.

As you’ll recall from our last Innovation Challenge blog post, we get pretty excited about this annual event. It gives us the opportunity to explore emerging technologies and challenge ourselves to use them in the marketplace to solve real-world problems. It’s a chance for us to try fun new things and roles, and work with people that we don’t necessarily work with on a daily basis.

This year, we had 15 teams with 6 people on each team, aided by our management team at various stages. Our teams were made up of creatives, developers, project managers and technology experts in order to come up with a well-rounded idea with the right resources for execution.

All of our teams went through the same process for this first stage.

IC steps diagram

Each team presented at this year’s Summer Party in front of a panel of judges and all of our colleagues. The teams had to present the problem, solution, and plan forward for the idea, and wrap all of that up into a 5-minute, Dragon’s Den-style sales pitch.

This year, we had a couple of common themes, as well as interesting applications of exciting new technologies. Two of the teams considered customer experience in the context of immigration, from application through to immersion in a new community. A few teams zoned in on the issue of employee engagement and productivity. One team is focusing on improving cycling in the city, while another aims to allow parents more direct communication with daycare providers. And one team is thinking of ways to help bring internet to lower income families.

Overall, we’re seeing an interesting mix of customer experience and technology solutions developing, and we can’t wait to see what all the teams come up with. We’ll be sharing our MVPs and frameworks at the end of the year. Onwards and upwards!