Sprint to Innovate – The Innovation Challenge Recap

The RRC Polytech “Sprint to Innovate” event took place on January 26-29, 2023 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Sprint to Innovate was brought together by Red River College (RRC) Polytechnic in partnership with Tech Manitoba and the Faculty of Science – University of Manitoba.  The purpose of this event was to bring together post-secondary students from varied disciplines such as technology, business, entrepreneurship, and more to learn about innovation while collaborating in a fun and exciting challenge to build a minimum viable prototype in two days.  Students from any Manitoba post-secondary institution were allowed to participate.

Each team was comprised of between 4 to 6 students and had to choose from a list of available business challenges that were provided by industry.  Each team worked together with support from mentors as well business representatives from each challenge, to create a solution that included developing a prototype to be presented to judges on the final day.  For this challenge event, there were approximately 16 teams with 81 students participating and 7 business challenges that had been submitted for the teams to choose from. 

CIPS Manitoba was a sponsor of the previous Sprint to Innovate but for this Innovation Challenge, a team consisting of Gary Craven, Suvojit De, Linda Hunter and Kerry Augustine, decided to put together a business challenge that could be considered by any one of the teams. The challenge was as follows:

  • How might we develop a system using the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA – pronounced Sofia), a skills credentialing framework, to objectively and responsibly evaluate job candidates and candidate resumes, while improving over time?

Further details to support this challenge were provided to all the teams along with a 3-minute video. Two teams decided to take on this challenge – Team DSML Goats and Team Saturno.

There was a networking event to kickoff the weekend with some general hints and tips on the expectations and then on Friday, January 27, 2023, there was a Design Thinking Workshop with Al McLeod and Leanne Jones followed by a Pitch Workshop to help the teams get started.  The teams were then given the opportunity to meet with the business representative and mentors to ask any questions later in the day on Friday as well as on Saturday morning.  And they were off and running, putting together their proposed solutions and presentations and pitches for Sunday. 

Because there were 2 teams that had taken on the CIPS Manitoba challenge, we had to judge them and determine which one would go to the finals. The work that both teams completed in 48 hours to understand the problem and the process and then to come up with a proposed solution and presentation was amazing and made the job of determining which team to choose from extremely difficult.  Team Saturno was chosen based on their approach and solution to the problem and the engaging presentation.  Then they competed against the winning teams from the other 6 challenges.  Each team was allowed 7 minutes to complete their presentations to four judges who had 3 minutes to ask questions.  After Team Saturno completed theirs, one of the judges stated that if this application was available today, his company would buy it.  We felt then the team was going to be one of the top ones. 

CIPS Manitoba was absolutely ecstatic when Team Saturno was chosen to win the grand prize of $6,000. Congratulations to Team Saturno comprising of Felix Hiu-Hing Chong, Zhipeng Ding, Xiahon Liu, Doris Gonzalez, Jorge Nunez, and Andres Roman.  This is one team that has an amazing future ahead of it.  Thanks to each of them for making our presence at this event so special!