Preparation & Support

We're here to help! See below for tips and guides, as well as optional information sessions, workshops, and drop-in office hours, where you can learn more about the competition, develop your idea and/or prepare your preliminary round presentation recording. All sessions, workshops and office hours are open to students of any major or minor – please join us when your schedule permits, and as often as you like. Check out our full list of activities, resources and guides below.

On this page:

Drop-in support, weeks 3-8

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Info Sessions:
Learn about the competition and how to prepare.

Idea Development Workshops:
Explore the feasibility of your idea and how to make it happen. Not sure if you have an idea? We got you: this workshop is a great place to discover and develop one.

Presentation Preparation Workshops:
What should your presentation include? What needs to go in your slide deck? Get guidance on how to shape your presentation and helpful tips on how to succeed.

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Crafting Your Script

We recommend starting with an approximately 300-word script to introduce your idea. Practice your script enough to where delivery feels natural, and where you can speak slowly and enunciate clearly while staying within the 3-min time limit for your presentation.

We don’t recommend reading your script to the camera, which can sound monotone and inauthentic. Keep in mind that your tone of voice provides people with a powerful signal, which tells them whether they should believe in your idea or not.

Throughout your presentation, keep your audience in mind; think through what a general audience will need from you to understand what you are trying to communicate. The more specific or niche your concept is, the more background information your audience will need; concepts with broader contexts require less background information. For example, if your concept addresses the high cost of housing in the US, your audience will likely not need to be convinced that housing costs are high and that there is a large market for lower cost housing. However, if your business provides parts to DIY computer keyboard builders, you cannot assume that your audience knows that they can build their own computer keyboard – much less that there is a sufficient customer base to support your business.

Plan for your presentation to have the following components:

  • Problem statement and purpose. In a few sentences, describe or illustrate the problem that your idea will address. Your goal is to “hook” the listener at the start. You could accomplish this by telling a story, citing a surprising statistic, or just by describing passionately what unmet need currently exists that demands a solution.
  • Solution description. In a few sentences, and in very simple terms, state what type of product or service you plan to offer and what makes your idea exciting and special. When your problem statement is compelling, your audience will be nodding along with you when they hear your solution!
  • Customers and/or users. In a few sentences, identify who is your primary target customer and/or user, being as precise and specific as possible. Keep in mind that your customers (your source of funds) are not always the same as your users (who may or may not be paying for what they receive). For example, toy companies’ customers are adults, while their users are children. Likewise, many nonprofit businesses’ funding comes from grants/donors (customers), while recipients of support pay nothing (users).
  • A description of the first product you will make available for sale (also known as a minimum viable product, or MVP). Describe how you might create a functional prototype (MVP) for customers or users to try, and present some early design work if possible. Show that you have a vision not only for the product but also how to develop it.
  • Price and value. Provide hypothesized price(s) you would charge for your product or service, and explain the value you provide for customers or users. Ensure that your business is sustainable – that you can cover all costs of production, staffing, overhead, etc – at the price point and quantities you describe.
  • Resources required. Describe the key resources (people, partners, other) you will need to get your idea off the ground. These might include people (e.g., technical experts, marketers, etc.), partnerships (e.g., manufacturing or distribution, etc.), or materials and supplies.
  • Credibility enhancer. Provide one or more compelling reasons for someone to believe you (and your team, if you have a team) are well suited to bring your idea to life. Credibility enhancers might include deep knowledge of the customer problem, technical expertise, experience in the industry domain, endorsements from key stakeholders, or key milestones in product and market development that have already been achieved. And if you have none of those things, just remember that your own enthusiasm and passion are key pre-requisites for success and a solid foundation to build upon, so describe those and where they come from.
  • Closing. Close with a brief description of what your idea will become in the future and/or what it will accomplish for its customers or users and the world when it is successful.

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Creating a Slide Deck

When creating your slide deck, feel free to start with this template and guide. We recommend keeping the following pointers in mind:

  • Create a consistent look and feel. That means using the same or related fonts, colors and imagery across all your slides.
  • With text, recognize that less is almost always more. Avoid slides with a lot of text, especially if it’s a repeat of what you’re saying. (Caution: don’t read your slides!) If there are a lot of words on your slide, you’re asking your audience to split their attention between what they’re reading and what they’re hearing. A good rule of thumb is just one idea (no more than four points) and an average of 30 words per slide.
  • Use photos to enhance meaning. Photos can help what you’re saying resonate in your audience’s mind without pulling their attention away from your spoken words. Kind of like with text, less photos is almost always more. Avoid slides with too many photos on them – if they distract your audience from your message, there are too many. Avoid using unrelated images - no matter how cute the kitten, your audience will be confused if your concept is unrelated to kittens.

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Recording Your Video

Record your presentation in mp4 format using Zoom, as a single continuous unedited "take," in a recording format that shows the speaker (you, facing the camera) and your slide deck simultaneously:


Record Locally (Recommended)

To record a meeting with Zoom, launch a new meeting (in which you are the host) and select the "Record" button. Note that the default setting on Zoom, if you are using your OSU affiliated account, is to save your video to the cloud. Cloud recordings can be accessed via Zoom or through Canvas in the My Media folder after they have been processed, which can take a few minutes to a few hours depending on server loads. Therefore, to avoid the delay in processing, and to avoid common recording problems related to network lag, we strongly recommend that you change your Zoom settings to enable local recording. Local recording saves the video directly to your computer or device, which allows for quick access and limits recording problems:

To change your settings and enable local recording, log in to Zoom, go to Profile, then Settings, then Recording to configure the recording settings for local. For more info, view the local recordings with Zoom tutorial. If you set your computer to record locally, your file can be found in one of the following default file paths (on PC or Mac):

  • PC: C:\Users\User Name\Documents\Zoom
  • Mac: /Users/User Name/Documents/Zoom

Remember: do not edit your recording in any way. (See Video Recording Parameters above.)

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Contact us

The InnovationX team is here to support you. Should you have technical difficulties, email Michelle Marie at as soon as your issue arises so that we can troubleshoot with you.

Please do not wait until the last moment to create, record and upload your presentation! You should anticipate that technical issues may arise, or that you will have difficulty meeting the required time limit. Give yourself time to manage those challenges, and limit your own stress, by getting ahead of the deadline. We cannot guarantee that late entries will be included.

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