Software Innovation Challenge (Including Solutions Developed in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic)


The mission statement of AIS is as follows:

“The Association for Information Systems (AIS) serves society through the advancement of knowledge and the promotion of excellence in the practice and study of information systems. AIS is the premier professional association for individuals and organizations who lead the research, teaching, practice, and study of information systems worldwide.”

As students and future practitioners of Information Systems (IS), you play a significant part in this mission to serve society. The AIS Student Chapters Technology Innovation Challenge focuses on information systems solutions, innovations and initiatives that help make the world a better, safer place for organizations and society in general. This includes solutions that have been developed to help the world respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

This challenge will allow you to demonstrate the impact that IS can have in improving the world in which live. If you accept this challenge, your team of 1-5 individuals will design and implement an innovative IS solution fitting one of the parameters below. (Groups of fewer than 3 to 4 individuals are not encouraged, but a submission would not be rejected because of it.)  Your solution may run on any platform, be coded in any language and deployed in any device environment. Projects that implement an IoT solution are particularly welcome.

Topics can include solutions that were developed to help the world respond to the COVID-19 global pandemic.  Topic areas could also focus around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and may include but are not limited to, the topics presented below.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. On September 25th 2015, countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. Each of the 17 goals has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.

Goals include:

  • No poverty
  • Zero hunger
  • Good health and well-being
  • Quality education
  • Gender equality
  • Clean water and sanitation
  • Affordable and clean energy
  • Decent work and economic growth
  • Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
  • Reduced inequalities
  • Sustainable cities and communities
  • Responsible consumption and production
  • Climate action
  • Life below water
  • Life on land
  • Peace, justice, and strong institutions
  • Partnerships for the goals

Successful submissions will propose an IS/IT-centered solution to a problem or opportunity that addresses one of the 17 sustainable development goals. Participants are encouraged to be creative and think out of the box to develop an innovative solution to an identified problem.

For more details about the UN Sustainable Development Goals go to

  • Submissions Instructions

    Upload your video to (make sure that you don’t make your video private so we can access it!)

    Email the following to by the deadline:

    • Your submission as Word or PDF file that includes the problem statement, solution description, benefits, platform, etc.
    • Text file of any code as explained in the project instructions
    • Link to your video
    • Names and email addresses of the team members with a corresponding author identified
  • Important Dates

    March 9 (10 am Central) – OPTIONAL: Case Competition Prep Workshop (Watch the recording)

    March 18  (2 pm Central) – OPTIONAL: Q&A session about the case (Registration required – RSVP here)

    March 22 – Preliminary submissions deadline

    March 28 – Preliminary submissions deadline EXTENDED

    April 2 – Finalists notified

    April 9 – Final presentations (during the conference) and winners announced

  • Prizes

    First place: $1,000

    Second place: $500

    Third place $250

  • Questions


  • The project submissions should be the work of the project team. If faculty and/or other individuals have significantly contributed to the submission, please be sure to note their contributions.
  • Alpha / Early development system solutions are completely acceptable.
  • Submissions that are based on pre-beta solutions and/or from pre-existing on-going coursework projects are acceptable as well.
  • The contest materials must be submitted by the due dates.
  • Teams must be members of an AIS Student Chapter.
  • If the number of submissions allow, graduate and undergraduate groups may be judged separately. In this case, a team with a 50% or more graduate student composition will be classified as a graduate student team.

Preliminary Round Submission Guidelines

For the preliminary round the student team must submit a report in PDF format that contains:

  1. The problem that the team has chosen to address and why it is important to solve this problem.  What is the potential impact of solving the problem?
  2. A detailed description of your proposed solution which should include a written description of the solution, diagrams that communicate the solution and its components, the solution architecture and platform, etc.
  3. A statement of why you believe that your solution is innovative (ex. How is it different than what currently exists or has been tried before? What makes your solution “special”?)
  4. A discussion of the major business aspects of your application including who your target audience is, how you are going to let them know your application exists, so they can take advantage of it, and how you are going to finance continuing operations (i.e. selling the application, advertising, grants, etc.),
  5. An introduction of each team member and a description of the role that he/she plays on the project team.
  6. A link to a video that demos the “alpha” prototype of the solution (see video instructions below).

In addition to the report, the team video guidelines are:

  1. The video must not be more than 7-10 minutes in length.
  2. The team should briefly introduce the problem and the solution in the video, along with a demo of the alpha prototype (if applicable.)
  3. Remember that this is only a demo of the alpha prototype, so it doesn’t need to be completely ready for “prime time.” The judges are primarily concerned with whether or not your team has considered the technological aspects of your solution and if it reflects what your team described in the report.
  4. All team members must be featured in the video.

Final Round

The top submissions, as scored by the judges, will move on to the final round, to be held at the Student Chapters Leadership Conference.  In this round, the teams will be required to make a presentation (15 to 20 minute max.) of their report to a panel of judges  After the presentation, there will be a 10 minute Q&A with the panel of judges.  


Problem Significance –
• Does the team describe a societal problem that can be solved by IS?
• How well do they make the case for the need for a solution?
Solution Description –
• Does the team fully and clearly describe the proposed solution?
• Does the solution that they describe have the potential to solve the problem that they have presented?
Innovativeness of Solution –
• Is the solution innovative?
• How is it different than what has already been done?
Business Aspect of Solution –
• Does the team convey that there is a market demand for the application?
• Does the team have a solid plan for marketing the application?
• Is the application financially sustainable?
Alpha Prototype Demo –
• Does the team’s solution reflect what was in the report?
• Is it something that can be developed into a beta prototype before the finals?
• How is the quality of the demo/video?