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Ideas to Serve Competition (I2S)

Register now for MGT 4803D: In-depth Exploration and Design to earn credit for the workshop series that prepares you for I2S.

I2S Finalist Group Photo

Ideas 2 Serve 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.

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

2019 was the first year of a new philosophy for our competition – one that focused on an in-depth understanding of the social or environmental issue a student is passionate about. This approach 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 identifying the root cause versus the symptoms of the issue; conduct customer discovery to better understand the needs of the community; and to carefully consider the possible unintended consequences of any solution they might propose.

2020 will continue this philosophy, 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 excited to announce that new this year is our collaboration with the Skoll Center for Social Entrepreneurship at the Said Business School at Oxford. We are partnering 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.

2020 Schedule

October 24 - Info Session Lunch (RSVP) 11 AM - noon, CoB 101 

October 31* - Register for MGT 4803D: Social Impact Exploration and Design

January through March - Monday (4:30 PM) MGT 4803D

February 28 – Intent to Compete Deadline (deadline for requesting Mentorship**)

March 04 – Track Designation Communicated with Team Leads

March 12 - Early Application Deadline

March 23 – The Art of Presentation: pitch workshop (4:30 PM, CoB Room 314)

TBD  – CCI ‘How to Start a Social Enterprise” workshop 

March 23 - Late Application Deadline (9:00 PM)

March 26 – Finalists Announced

April 1 – I2S Final Poster Showcase (Scheller COB Atrium 4:30 p.m.)

June 5-7 - Map the System Global Finals (Oxford, England)

*Highly recommended but not required for participation in I2S

**Mentorship provided from current Scheller MBA students – reach out to to request mentorship, including the issue you are working on.


We are morphing our previous tracks - Ideas and Advanced - into two new 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, and 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.

Applications are now closed. Thank you to all who competed!

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

What to Consider when Conducting Stakeholder Interviews:

Prizes & Sponsors

Over $12,000 in prizes were awarded in the 2019 competition! Even if you were not selected to be a finalist, you could be eligible to compete for any of the specialty prizes. 

Problem Discovery Track

First Place - $3,000

Second Place - $1,500

Third Place - $1,000

Solutions Discovery Track

Winner - $3,000

Runner-up - $1,500

Specialty Prizes

People's Choice Award - $500

Best Video Award - $500

Best Poster Award - $500

Scheller MBA Award - $500

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

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

Steven A. Denning Technology and Management Program

Innovation and Design Collaborative 

Scheller College of Business 

LEAD Program

Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business

Improve International


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.

We offer a series of workshops (see below) 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