3 Ideas
Sketch Model Review
Mockup Model Review
Assembly Review
Tech Review
Final Presentation

3-Ideas Presentation

background, requirements, presentation setup logistics, grading,
presentation tips, results

plotter schedule, practice session schedule

The 3-ideas presentation is a critical step in the process of choosing a direction for your team's project. The milestone, with 40 second pitches for each idea, takes place during lecture time, as indicated in the syllabus. Each section is allocated 2 minutes for three ideas.

This milestone is intended to help you learn how to prepare a 'clean' poster and describe a product idea in a very short amount of time—roughly the amount of time you might have to pitch a new idea to an executive when you see her while riding in a elevator. Hence, this type of presentation is called an "elevator pitch". If you are not completely at ease in this type of presentation, it is a great chance to practice.

During the presentation you will also be able to see other ideas that classmates are considering.

Your section will prepare 3 posters illustrating your section's three best ideas for a project. These should include both ideas derived from your own brainstorming and inspired by the idea fair.

6 sheets of foamcore will be made available in your team's work area (3 sheets for each section). Use the foamcore that we provide so all posters are the same size (24"x36"). Each idea must be represented on a different sheet. Please lay the posters out in tall format since fitting all the posters in the classroom is tight and the mounting system is designed for portrait orientation. If your poster is three dimensional, it can be no more than a total of 1.5" thick (in storage configuration). Also, be sure to identify your team and section on the poster.

Each idea poster should include a simple sketch and key talking points, such as potential customers, market, and technical feasibility assessment— all readable from 50-80 feet away. At a glance, a viewer should 'get the idea.' Also, on the back attach an 8.5"x11" sheet with supporting estimations, calculations, and data sources/citations for any quantitative information that is on the poster.

A few examples from a previous year are provided on the right. You can also view posters from other years in the gallery (select a project and click on the ideas tab).

Remember that clean simple posters work well. Since the ideas are quite unformed at this time, using gestural sketch-like representations is more appropriate that realistic renderings or models. You can prepare the final poster by hand or using software. We will be conducting an optional illustrator workshop focused on preparing posters for 2.009, and you will be able to schedule a time for help with plotting and mounting. There will also be time to schedule practice with communication instructors.

In your presentation, you must also identify at least one person/expert that is representative of your potential customer and be confident that they can serve as a resource during the term.

The 3-ideas presentations are scheduled during class.

If you plan to plot your posters using the 2.009 plotter, we will be arranging a plotter schedule for the day before the presentation. There is also a schedule for practice sessions with the communication instructors.

Your section should have one, two, or three presenters prepared to give 40 second summaries of the ideas. An equal amount of time should be devoted to each idea.

A two-minute time limit will be strictly enforced for each section — so if one presenter uses all two minutes for one idea, there will be no time to present the other ideas from your section! Your communication instructor will be happy to help you prepare. Over the term we would like everyone on your team to present at least once. If you are not sure about your public speaking, the 3-ideas presentation is a good opportunity for you.

Please make sure your section's posters and presenters arrive no later that 1:00. The best approach is to leave your posters in Pappalardo lab after plotting and we will bring them to class for you. We will be mounting the posters in the classroom once we can enter the room. We will provide the mounting arrangements but please be prepared to help with setup if needed.

This presentation counts for a portion of your section-specific grade.

After class, the posters will be collected and all lab instructors will meet to discuss the 6 ideas presented by your entire team (three from each section). Based upon your work, the instructors will choose a product sub-theme and this will become the entire team's focus for the rest of the term. The sub-themes will be posted on the course website by 5 PM after the review. When making the selection instructors will consider: technical and educational interest; customer needs; project scope; and the product portfolio formed by all 8 teams in the class.

The posters will be photographed and your presentation will be video taped. The materials will be put on the course website, with a review form, and you will receive presentation feedback from instructors over night after the presentations (before your next lab). When you receive the written feedback, please complete the milestone reflection in your design notebook.

Presentation tips
A presentation tips video has been prepared by the communication instructors. Some additional guidelines are provided below.

  • Look at the audience, not your poster.
  • Don't block your poster.
  • Don't read the poster! Viewers will already see everything on the poster... augment the visual information with speech. Lots of text on a poster is not a good recipe.
  • Avoid cue cards... practice in advance.
  • Think of the presentation as a short story. Telling the story through the viewpoint of the customer can be effective.
  • Do not emulate a 'used-car salesperson' or TV infomercial... this is not appropriate for our professional context. Be honest and informative.
  • Humor is great. However, humor can unintentionally become disrespectful or in bad taste. Just be careful!

Results of the 3 ideas presentation.