2016 Student Product Innovation Competition

Sponsored by:

The Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) – Carolinas Chapter


Undergraduate and graduate students at universities in North and South Carolina are invited to submit a design for a new product or service of their own creation to the Carolinas Student Product Innovation Competition 2016.


The awards for the winning projects are

  • Graduate students
    • First place = $1000
    • Second place = $250
  • Undergraduate students
    • First place = $1000
    • Second place = $250
  • Additionally, the winning teams will have the opportunity to participate as summer intern or receive commercialization support with a local sponsored product design company.

All project teams will have the chance to present their product or service at a poster session as part of the 2016 PDMA Innovate Carolina conference in Charlotte, NC and receive a certificate of participation.   The conference gives students attendees the opportunity to showcase their product development skills in front of product directors, product managers, and product designers.

Submission Eligibility

Submissions may come from individuals or teams who developed the product concept during Fall 2015 or Spring 2016 semesters.  Submissions will be evaluated by experienced product developers and product management professionals from Carolinas PDMA.  Submissions will be judged based on originality, feasibility, and market potential of the product or service concept in any industry sector (See scoring criteria below).

Submission Requirements

Intent to Submit

  • A one or two paragraph description of the product/service concept
  • Team name, team members’ names and contact information (email and phone number), team category (graduate or undergraduate) and university name. If a team has one or more graduate students on it, submit it as a graduate project.
  • Name and contact information of the university professor teaching the product design class (if project is an in-class project) or supervising the work (if independent study)
  • Email to Cheryl Jacobs (cheryl.jacobs@wellsfargo.com) by March 18th, 2016.

Full Submission

  • One document (PDF) with the team name, product or service name, name and contact information of all team members, team category (graduate or undergraduate), university name, and name and contact information of sponsoring professor. This document will remain with the competition coordinator.
  • A separate document (PDF) with the full submission containing all details of the new product concept.  This document will be distributed to a team of judges. The team members’ names or university affiliation should not appear in the submission document.
  • Email to Cheryl Jacobs (cheryl.jacobs@wellsfargo.com) by April 20th, 2016.


  • Create a poster(not more than 60”X36”) that highlights main aspects of the product design
    • Bring a solid backing on which to mount your poster (e.g., cardboard, foam-core, etc.) and some tape by which to secure it.
  • One team member needs to be available and able to explain the poster contents during the conference

Scoring Criteria

By the PDMA definition: “Products are bundles of attributes (features, functions, benefits, and uses) and can be either tangible, as in the case of physical goods, or intangible, as in the case of those associated with service benefits, or can be a combination of the two.” Submissions may be of a product, a service, or a combination of the two. Submissions will be judged on five criteria.

  1. Product ConceptClarity of the definition of the proposed new product and its capabilities through written descriptions, drawings, prototypes, etc.
  2. Innovation. Is the product new to the world or an incremental innovation? Uniqueness? Social benefit? Will its production and sale help or harm society and the environment?
  3. Value. What is the value to the customer? How will they use it? Any customer research to support the product's claims?
  4. Market. What is the size of the market? Expected sales on a yearly basis? Cost to produce? Price? Profits?
  5. Promotion. What are the sales channels? How will it be marketed and promoted

All criteria will be scored on a 1 – 10 basis. The total will be the un-weighted sum of scores for the individual criteria.

2016 Dates 

  • March 18 Intent to submit
  • March 22 PDMA Notification of acceptance for conference participation
  • April 20 Full Submission
  • April 29Poster showcase, Announcement of winners, Certificates to all student participants

For more information

Contact: Cheryl Jacobs, VP of Academic Affairs at cheryl.jacobs@wellsfargo.com.


Competition sponsor