Imagine Cup; Example Software Design Entry

To help everyone out myself and Ben Coley have created an example entry to the Imagine Cup Software Design Competition. The idea isn't meant to set the world alight but hopefully it should give you a good indication of the required format and length of an entry.

I have posted the meat of the form below and the full entry is attached to this post as a word doc.

Please remember round one of the Software Design Competition is all about having an idea which could contribute to a sustainable environment. We don't expect tons of detail or any code just a nice idea clearly explained.

Environmental Problem/Issue to be solved
“Describe in detail the issue or problem your team’s entry will solve?”

Climate change refers to changes in the global climate which are not naturally occurring but are caused by mankind. Specifically climate change relates to the warming of the layer of air at the earth’s surface and the oceans.

It is thought that climate change is largely due to the build up of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere. Many factors are thought to contribute to this build up including deforestation and burning of fossil fuels.

As the UN’s website about climate change suggests (, if we do not do take corrective action to reduce greenhouse gases to a natural level, global warming could cause many other environmental problems, some of which we are starting to see already. For example, melting of the polar icecaps could lead to flooding and localised climate change, resulting in destruction of natural environments and therefore loss of plant and animal species.

Our entry will be targeted at families as we want to educate children about climate change but also have an instant impact by changing the behaviours of the whole family (for example reduction in energy consumption).

Our entry is designed to help raise awareness of climate change and to educate users about the potential solutions thereby helping them alter their day to day behaviours to have a positive impact.
By educating users about the steps they can take to remedy climate change we hope that users will alter their behaviour so ultimately less greenhouse gas is emitted and the impact of global warming reduced.

“How does your entry enable a more sustainable environment?”

Our concept is a web based game which will help to educate users about climate change, its causes and how individuals can alter their every day behaviour to have a positive impact.

In the game the user will be presented with a 3D map of the globe upon which  human behaviour leading to climate change will be graphically illustrated. The user can navigate the globe selecting these behaviours and explore how best to address them by selecting solutions from a multiple choice list.

When the user selects the correct solution they will be given more information about how they can take action to remedy the problem.

If the user selects the incorrect answer to the issue they will be given clues to appropriate search terms to be used on Live Search to help them research the correct solution.

An example of an issue may be deforestation in Brazil; If the user selects the incorrect answer they could be presented with Live Search results for sustainable paper suppliers in the UK to give them a clue as to the solution. If the user selected the correct supplier they would receive advice on sustainable forestry with links to Live Search queries where they can get further advice.

The game will be built using Silverlight and leverage the Live Search API to make relevant information available to users. The nature of the game will mean it can be spread virally through online communities such as Facebook and will have the potential to widen the remit beyond global warming to other environmental issues.

Application Overview
Please detail how your application works and interacts with users and with other systems.

  1. Initially, the user will be presented with a 3D globe on the screen (supplied by Live Maps).  Plotted on the map will be environmental problems (deforestation, global warming, flooding, etc.).  The environmental problems and their locations will be located in a database sitting on the backend (e.g. an Access database).
  2. The user will click on the problematic area and be presented with a box in which they will have to select the solution to the problem (e.g. use recycled paper in the instance of deforestation to stop the cutting down of trees).
  3. The box will contain multiple choice answers for the user to select.  The program will notify the user if the answer was correct or not.  If the user is unsure of the solution, they can do a Live Search for a cryptic clue to the solution by clicking on a certain button (opening in a new tab, or perhaps an iFrame).
  4. There will also be a placeholder at the side that displays facts through-out the usage of the website, e.g. “Microsoft gives X to charities per X queries” or “Did you know... by using online bank statements, the UK saved X trees last year”, etc.


If you have any questions about the Software Design Competition or any other aspect of the Imagine Cup in the UK please feel free to comment below and I will get back to you.

Technorati Tags: Imagine Cup,UK,Students,Microsoft,Software Design,SDI