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Ideas to Serve Competition


Thank You to All the 2021 I2S Participants for Being Students Who Dare to Care and Congratulations to ALL the Awardees!


Ideas to Serve (I2S) focuses on the in-depth understanding of a social/environmental issue a student is passionate about, supporting an in-depth discovery of that particular problem.

2020 brought us our first virtual Ideas to Serve competition, which gave us challenges to overcome, and innovative ideas of how to connect student submissions to our judging panel of social impact leaders. We were still able to continue our approach which provides a comprehensive approach to social innovation, encouraging students to: identify and build on the assets of the communities they want to serve; research the solution landscape to learn from both what works, and what failed (and why); take a systems approach to identify the root cause versus the symptoms of the issue; conduct customer discovery to better understand the needs of the community; to carefully consider the possible unintended consequences of any solution they might propose.

In 2021 as we continue to make our way through the pandemic, there is no shortage of evidence that environmental and social impact is needed in many of our communities. We will continue supporting and incentivizing an in-depth discovery of any particular social or environmental issue a student is passionate about. Students who are interested in understanding complex problems and/or involved in community-based grassroots efforts to address such problems but don't have an "innovation" can be part of I2S - strengthening the "serve" component of it.

We are also still thrilled to be a part of our collaboration with the Skoll Center for Social Entrepreneurship at the Said Business School at Oxford, where we will stay connected to global impact thought leaders. We are continuing our partnership with their Map the System Global Challenge. The top team(s) from I2S will represent Georgia Tech at Oxford and compete with teams focused on social impact from top universities around the world.

Check out this Prezi for a high-level overview of the new Ideas to Serve.

2021 Schedule
April 6 Intent to Compete Form/Application Deadline (email your materials to by 11:00 PM ET)
April 15 Finalists announced
April 18 People’s Choice Voting Opens
April 19 I2S Finals Virtual
April 20 Awardees Notified
April 22 Awards Announced to the Public
June 9-11 Map the System Global Finals (Oxford, England - Virtual)



We are moving to a virtual format for the 2021 Finals and beyond, until further notice.

Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Complete the Intent to Compete form and submit your Executive Summary and Video Presentation link (see guidelines below)
    • Deadline is April 6, 11:00 PM EST (email to )
  2. Finalists will be announced April 15 by email.
    • If you are a finalist in either track, a set of 4-6 questions from the judges will be emailed to you by April 15 and you have 24 hours to submit your answers (format TBD).
  3. ALL TEAMS (not just the finalists) will be considered for the Specialty Prizes (see Prizes section), and call on their supporters to vote for them in the People’s Choice vote on April 18.
  4. All Awards will be announced on April 20
  5. If you are an awardee you will have one week to fill out a short online form to register in the GT system so your prize can be sent to you.

Map the System Global Challenge Oxford delegate team will represent GT at the (also virtual) Global Finals in June.

Application Requirements

    • Executive Summary (Project Description + Stakeholder/System Map)

    • Video Presentation - Updated 

      Video Submission Guidelines

      • Want to win the $500 People’s Choice Award for your project? Voting is simple – add this tiny url: URL Coming Soon to your video description when you upload it to YouTube. Encourage your friends to watch your video and vote for you! Voting will be open from April 18th through April 19th. We’ll send you a link to our Facebook page as well, where we’ll post videos. People’s Choice award will be decided based on form votes and social media engagement.

Applications are considered for two separate Tracks:

  • Problem Discovery Track -  for students who are exploring a social/environmental issue with the intent of gaining a deep understanding of that space and where their skills fit in.

  • Solutions Discovery Track - for students who are more advanced on their discovery journey and are formulating community-based solutions.

The competition is open to any current Georgia Tech student (undergraduate and graduate) and recent alumni.

Ideas to Serve judges are social sector experts. Some are social entrepreneurs, some are leaders of local nonprofits, some are impact investors, and some are academics who specialize in these areas. A list of this year’s judges will be shared with all participants before the Finals. Beyond evaluating the entries, judges are also ready to connect you to their network and to provide valuable feedback for every team. We encourage all finalists to take advantage of this opportunity, listen to the feedback, and follow-up with judges that indicated their willingness to make connections for you – these are the most valuable outcomes of participating in I2S.


Understanding the Impact Gaps Canvas framework:

What is Systems – Thinking:

Mapping Tools:

  • KumuA powerful data visualization platform that helps you organize complex information into interactive relationship maps

  • Plectica: Helping people visualize & connect information so they can get on the same page

  • Venngage: Tell your stories and present your data with infographics

  • Piktochart: A simple, intuitive tool that helps you tell your story

  • Infogram: Create engaging infographics and reports

  • Canva: Create beautiful designs

  • MindMup: Create, share, and publish mind maps, hassle-free

 Basic Research Workshop: 

5 Whys & Iceberg Models Workshop:

What to Consider when Conducting Stakeholder Interviews:


Prizes & Sponsors

Problem Discovery Track

First Place - $2,500

Second Place - $1,500

Third Place - $1,000

Other Finalists: $250

Solutions Discovery Track

Winner - $2,500

Finalists - $250

Specialty Prizes

People's Choice Award - $500

Best Video Award - $500

Best Stakeholder/System Map Award - $500

Scheller MBA Award - $500

Map the System Global Finalist Award - Participation to Map the System Global Finals at Oxford, England which will be Virtual this year** 

*Even if you were not selected to be a finalist, you could be eligible to compete for any of the specialty prizes. 

**Teams that want to be eligible have to fill out a separate, direct application for Map the System (guidelines included in the I2S application form).

The Cecil B. Day Program for Business Ethics (Solution Discovery Track Awards)

Center for Serve - Learn - Sustain (Problem Discovery Track Awards)

Ted Munchak Chair in Entrepreneurship

Steven A. Denning Technology and Management Program

Center for International Business Education and Research (Map the System Sponsorship) 

Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business

Scheller College of Business 

The Woodall Servant Leadership Endowment

LEAD Program

Innovation and Design Collaborative 

Mosley Ventures 


These changes to the format were developed in close partnership with Serve-Learn-Sustain, as we have worked with them over the past 1.5 years to create and launch the new SLS Innovating for Social Impact Program. The changes in approach were inspired by feedback from our expert collaborators – judges and mentors, who are practitioners in the social impact space, and who have worked with I2S teams for many years.  Participation in the Ideas to Serve Competition fulfills the Final Deliverable requirement for the  SLS Innovating for Social Impact Program

Our partner student organization is the Scheller MBA Net Impact Chapter. 

We offer a series of workshops ( described here) to help you on your problem discovery journey. We highly recommend you attend these if they fit your schedule. The workshops are provided in collaborations with our partners across campus (SLS, Design Collaborative , VentureLab) and feature guest speakers who are practitioners in the social impact space. The curriculum of the workshops was developed with the expert input of Susan Davis, Founder of Improve International and Global Coordinator at Agenda for Change

Have questions? Reach out to