Judging the Design Class at ITP

I was thrilled to be asked to judge the final projects for the design class at ITP this year.  There were four different groups that pitched. 

The first one is WalkIt.  I had seen them pitch before at the ITP Pitchfest and was truly impressed with how much that had happened since then.   I love what they are doing.  Walkit is an online platform that allows anyone to create a neighborhood map.  Their tag line is mapping with a soul.  Anyone can use it, the maps are crowd sourced, you can search, create and share maps.  You can put it on a handheld or print out a map that fits in the pocket of your pants or palm of your hand.  The idea is to deliver the possibility of roads less traveled.  Very smart.

The second pitch was from Urban Insider.  The idea here is to create serendipitous connections to bring people outside their network to give advice on life in the city.  User generated content.  Here are two tips they used to show how the site would work.  "Coffee "regular" means caffeinated coffe with milk and sugar" and "Don't eat anywhere near Times Square unless it's a dire emergency".  Their concept is simple; New Yorkers = Generous know-it-alls.  Didn't love this business and it was definitely not flushed out but keep in mind the whole process to get to the end is 14 weeks from soup to nuts.

The third pitch was MemoLink.  This is a web-based application designed for people with Early Stage Alzheimers and Milk Cognitive Impairment.  These guys did serious research.  MemoLink does three main functions; calendar, contacts and games.  Games seem to be a key way to keep the brain functioning as well as conversation and contact.  I was impressed that a group of young people were thinking about this issue but again the idea wasn't completely flushed out.

The last one was Bondfire.  Gathering friends together to took in a reserved kitchen.  Think Zipcars for kitchen space.  Lots of questions on this one and wasn't so sure they weren't taking a square and trying to push it in a hole.  Food is definitely the center of everything these days but I am not so sure I see people renting out kitchens to create a dinner party so often that it could create a revenue opportunity.

All and all, loved to see the ideas, the research, the pitch and the people.  Hope to do this again next year!