Instructions and Guidelines

Judging Criteria:

Judges will score each team on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1= excellent and 5 = poor.  Turn in your scorecards BEFORE you go to your feedback session.  Each team will have 90 seconds.

Teams should convince the judges that they are working on a real problem or real need that people care about, and that if the product or design or process is successful, then people would buy or utilize this product.  In other words, teams should convey that there is a market for this product.   

Further, teams should give some evidence that this product is significantly better than what exists today.  Teams should give a sense for where the product design is today, what’s next in the product development, and what you need or would like from the judges.


Nine Points of the Elevator Pitches:

Each team has been coached on making an elevator pitch in 90 seconds.  They have been taught to cover nine thoughts in about 200 words.  This means generally about 90 seconds.  Alternatively this translates to about 22 words per subject for the 9 points.  The order is not absolute, but each point should be covered.  The pitch should definitely end with points 8 (What’s Next – what should the listener do?) and 9 (Wow or tag line (that is what is the listener’s takeaway about the idea and/or the team).

1. Who?  Who are you or who is team?  From a product perspective, why did you come together or why are you presenting?.

2. What?  What is the problem, pain, or need addressed?  How extensive is this need or how big is the potential represented by this need?

Note!  These first two points can be presented in reverse order.

3. How?  How are you going to address the pain or problem?

4. Better?  Is your solution better than the alternatives?  How much better? Patentable?

5. So What?  Will people accept your solution?  Is it better enough?  Does it really matter?  What is the Value you plan to deliver to customers?

6. What Now?  What is the status of your solution at this time and what are your needs?

7. Wishing? What would you like the listener to think of you, your team, your idea or your value proposition?

8. What’s Next?  What do you want the listener to do next? Contact you? Provide funding? Be a buyer? Vote for you? Join with you?  Please note that the teams do not necessarily need to ask for funding but they should ask for something to justify why they are even there in the first place.

9. Wow.  What is a memorable “tag” line or “wow” line or mantra that the listener will remember and take away with them.

The Ask:

The teams know they need to ask for something.  This is not necessarily an investor or venture capital pitch.  Teams do not need to be asking for funding.   Teams may ask for support, collaboration, money, votes – something. 


Teams will be scored on the basis of the 9 components described above and how well they tell their story. 

Teams are scored from 1 to 5, with 1 being an excellent job of hitting clearly and concisely the points above and 5 being a poor job of hitting the points.  

The teams should NOT be scored on the basis of the size of the market or the attractiveness of the investment opportunity.  The project, in some cases, were not the students total or first choice. Teams may have a design project that has a large market or a niche market.   Some teams’ designs may be further along and ready for early stage investment, while others may be in the early stages of technology development.

However, a team that does not do a good job of communicating the need or problem being addressed, or convincing judges of the existence of a market for the product/service/process, and how their product is better than others, should not be scored as highly as others. 

Further, teams should express their pitch with enthusiasm, energy, confidence, and credibility.    It is a “plus” if teams can communicate their project in a way that translates something that is potentially very complex technically into something that is easily understood and/or memorable, especially in the opening or closing of their elevator pitch.

Feedback Session:

The purpose of the feedback session is to provide coaching, mentoring and advice to the teams to enhance their learning experience.  

Feedback Session and Reception will run as follows:
  • Judges and Students will gather in the Anderson Family Commons room - · Refreshments will be available.
  • Each team must stand near their assigned area around the perimeter of the room. Team members may take turns getting refreshments.
  • Judges are asked to go around the room and provide feedback to a few teams. Please spread out so that each team does not have more than 1 or 2 judges giving feedback at the same time.
  • Advice from judges should be of a constructive nature about the project, problem or pitch.


Contact us

Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen
Rice University

6100 Main Street MS 390 | Houston, Texas | 77005

Phone: 713.348.OEDK


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