The three entrants from each category judged to have the best all-round concepts by an online vote of delegates attending ITU Telecom World 2011 will share prize money totalling over CHF 50,000 to help them realise their digital dreams.
Industry mentors will also continue to work with the six winners after the event to help them turn their vision into reality.
Would-be innovators simply submit their idea online in one of two competition categories:
- Young Innovators: Entrants should be 18-25 years of age, and their idea must have been developed independently of any project with their current employer. The best ideas from around the world will win finalists an all-expenses-paid trip to Geneva, where they will benefit from two intensive days of training on how best to pitch their concept, culminating in a final quickfire pitch at a grand final event on 25 October. ITU is actively encouraging submissions from women and those still looking to enter the workforce.
- Digital Innovators: partnering with an NGO or other not-for-profit body: Entrants are encouraged to submit their ideas for new ways in which ICTs could help further their causes in areas like environmental sustainability, improved access to health and education, digital accessibility or the alleviation of poverty. The best partnerships will be brought to Geneva and trained on how best to pitch their developed idea, before making their final pitch on 25 October.
Entries will be judged on innovation, feasibility (technical implementation/cost) and applicant experience (ability to deliver). ITU Telecom Worlds online community will initially vote on their favourite submissions, with the 60 most popular ideas from each category then submitted to a high-level selection panel of independent experts from the public and private sector, who will choose the finalists.
In addition to the chance to win one of six cash prizes, the competition is designed to offer finalists an enriching experience that will help them better succeed in the competitive world of ICT development. As well as the chance to build a valuable network of new professional contacts worldwide, all contestants will have their pitches filmed and uploaded to YouTube, Facebook and the ITU Telecom website, to give them and their great ideas maximum global exposure.
They will also be encouraged to blog about their experiences and their ups and downs on the ITU Telecom website during the two-day pitch development process, and to upload their own photos, videos and audio podcasts.
The Young Innovators and Digital Innovators competition draws on our long-standing expertise in facilitating youth events and harnessing the power of fresh, digital thinking, said ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Tour. Applications, services and products driven by next-generation networks can truly transform the everyday life of millions. This competition offers a unique and exciting opportunity for young talent and digital innovators to receive the support, recognition and seed funding needed to turn promising digital ideas into valuable, working contributions to a better world.
The deadline for submissions is 15 September. Young Innovators can enter online at: world2011itu.int. Digital Innovators working with an NGO or not-for-profit can enter online at: world2011.itu.int/calling-all-geeks-and-not-profits.
As part of the lead-up to ITU Telecom World 2011, ITU also wants to hear inspirational stories and burning questions from stakeholders around the world:
Share Your Stories: Large enterprises with a CSR story to share or citizens whose connected project made a real difference to their community are invited to tell their stories online through short films about an innovative project that uses mobile or connected technologies to transform peoples lives. The most popular stories, as voted for and commented on by ITU Telecoms global constituencies, will be fed into ITU Telecom World 2011 in October. The event will provide a platform where the best stories will inspire delegates and catalyse action.
Pose Your Questions: Online readers are asked submit any question that they would like to be put to a panel of political and business ICT leaders at ITU Telecom World 2011.
Ideas, stories and questions on driving real-life change and development in the connected world can be uploaded now on the Get Involved page of the ITU Telecom World 2011 website: http://world2011.itu.int/get-involved.
Follow the competition and other ITU Telecom World 2011 event activities on Facebook at www.itu.int/facebook, through our @GInvolved twitter account and through our @ITU_News twitter account #ITUworld11.