To facilitate easy and efficient application and judging processes, Big Ideas uses an online Contest platform that features three portals:
In 2010, when the Blum Center first began managing Big Ideas, the application and review process was conducted manually. Students submitted their proposals by email and their applications were shared with judges who reviewed and ranked the proposals. However, as the Contest grew, it became necessary to take advantage of the speed and efficiency offered by online review platforms.
Since 2010, Big Ideas used three different online platforms (YouNoodle, Pitchburner, WizeHive). These platforms all had their strengths and drawbacks. However, the experience of using multiple platforms provided information on what features are most important when considering an online platform:
For the past three years, Big Ideas has used WizeHive as its contest platform. After conducting a review of contest platform providers in 2012, weighing the cost, available features and ease of use of each platform, it was determined that WizeHive was the best choice for the needs of the contest. Overall, Big Ideas finds WizeHive’s front end user interface to be straightforward, but the back end content management system less intuitive and more difficult to manage (e.g., ensuring only certain fields appear based on previously inputted information, editing applicants’ entry form fields, dealing with multiple accounts for different contests using the same email, and creating different judging criteria for different categories were challenging). Wizehive is also relatively expensive for the services they provide (costing approximately $6,000 for the 2015-16 Contest year). Contest participants (students and judges) on the whole report positive feedback regarding their experiences with the platform.
Looking ahead, Big Ideas may want to integrate more metrics and social networking capacities into the application platform, which would allow it to streamline its data systems in one central place. In future years, it will conduct another assessment as to which platform may be best suited for the contest as it continues to grow.