2020 Ideas to Serve Competition First Online Final Competition

<p>Amanda Miller, 2020 Ideas to Serve first-place winner "Trafficked" in the Problem Discovery Track.</p>

Amanda Miller, 2020 Ideas to Serve first-place winner "Trafficked" in the Problem Discovery Track.

The Institute for Leadership and Social Impact (ILSI) is thrilled to announce the results of the 2020 Ideas to Serve Competition (I2S). Now in its 11th year, I2S provides Georgia Tech students with the opportunity to address pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges with a learning-first approach, creativity, and collaborative solutions.

Applications were solicited from across Georgia Tech, with individuals and teams entering from five colleges and 10 majors. For the first time, a USG-wide expansion invited students from other Georgia universities to participate, and submissions were received from Kennesaw State University and Agnes Scott College.

Leading up to the competition, teams participated in workshops on problem discovery, stakeholder mapping, and asset-based community development. Participants who applied for a mentor also received support from Scheller MBA students. Participants prepared an application that included an executive summary and a 3-minute video presentation.

Amidst the application and education process, ILSI was forced to quickly pivot and, with the help of its partners, shift to a virtual format for the competition as a result of the coronavirus health crisis. However, the students were not deterred, and 21 teams entered the final stages of the competition.

panel of judges from a global community of NGOs and the local academic and business community convened virtually to determine the winners, runners-up, and finalists, all of whom receives cash prizes.

These winners represent a diverse set of student teams tackling a very broad set of problem areas. In the Problem Discovery Track, Amanda Miller (BA) took home the top slot and $2,500 for examining effects of the city of Atlanta’s sex trafficking industry on minors through her project “Trafficked.” Her submission was based on and inspired by her work with Wellspring Living, an Atlanta nonprofit providing transformative services to those affected by trafficking.

It was Amanda's commitment to elicit a deep understanding of the root causes and factors of the problem that impressed Tech alumni Susan Davis, global coordinator of Agenda for Change and lead Problem Discovery Track judge.

“My goal for being involved in Ideas to Serve is to encourage students who are already clearly motivated to address social and environmental issues to think more critically about how others have tried to address these issues and what their effective role can be,” said Davis.

“In “Trafficked,” Amanda Miller described the exact process of looking beyond the obvious symptoms of trafficking to explore root causes, including policy, enforcement, economics, and culture,” continued Davis.

The second and third-place teams in the Problem Discovery Track addressed land conservation in Chile (Strategic Park Design for Sustainability) and menstrual hygiene issues in developing countries (Partners in Dignity). Fight Girls Mutilation (addressing female genital mutilation in Kenya), Aqualove (examining better hydration practices for at-risk elderly population), and Resource Bridge (homeless services) rounded out the list of top teams in this track.

In the Solutions Discovery Track, teams were judged based on their potential solutions to the social and environmental issues they addressed. The winner of this track was the five-student team Invenovate. They are working on a solution to the elopement or wandering off tendency and associated risks for caretakers of children with autism and seniors with dementia.

The runner-up in this category, Atlanta Youth Energy Corps, addressed issues of energy inequity, specifically in metro Atlanta. The Reflex (optimizing EMS response times) and Afterlife (tackling household waste through DYI projects) teams earned Honorable Mention in the Solutions Discovery Track. 

Finally, all teams were eligible to receive specialty prizes based on specific sections of their submission. Invenovate received the Best Pitch award, as did Carrie’s Closet, an interdisciplinary Leadership Minor Capstone team. Carrie’s Closet worked with the Center for Civic Innovation Fellow Mamie Harper to address the Foster Care Bill of Rights in Georgia.

More than 1300 votes were cast in the People’s Choice category, and team Reflex came out on top, while Afterlife won both the Best Video and the Net-Impact MBA award. Fight Girl’s Mutilation earned the Best System/Stakeholder Map award that required a demonstrated understanding of the underlying interactions and root causes of the social issue examined.

Lastly, Partner in Dignity was chosen as the Georgia Tech delegate for the Map the System Global Challenge, a social impact solution competition organized by the Skoll Center for Social Entrepreneurship at the Said Business School in Oxford, England (which will be held virtually this year).

“It was amazing to see that, despite the challenges of dealing with the public health crisis and participating virtually – from three different continents - students eagerly persevered. They did an outstanding job studying the systems around their chosen issues, identifying community-based solutions, and recognizing ways they can affect positive change,” said Terry Blum, Tedd Munchak Chair in Entrepreneurship and faculty director of the Institute for Leadership and Social Impact.

The Ideas to Serve Competition would not be possible without the support of our generous sponsors. Thank you to The Cecil B. Day Program for Business Ethics, the Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain, the Steven A. Denning Technology & Management Program, Tedd Munchak Chair in Entrepreneurship, Center for International Business Education and Research, Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, LEAD Program, Hands on Atlanta, Richard Hill, Innovation and Design Collaborative, Moseley Ventures, and Speechworks.

Participation in the Ideas to Serve Competition fulfills the Final Deliverable requirement for the SLS Innovating for Social Impact Program – a collaboration between the Institute for Leadership and Social Impact and the Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain.

Full List of I2S Awardees

Problem Discovery Track Winner:

Trafficked ($2,500)
Team: Amanda Miller (BA)

Runner-Up: Strategic Park Design for Sustainability ($1,500)
Team: Angelica Acevedo (LMC), Shrinka Roy (MBA & Masters in ID)

Third Place: Partners in Dignity ($1,000)
Team: Adele Payman (AE), Dharesha Jhaveri (IE), Jonathan Hou (CS), Jessica Zhang (IE), Aisha Abdullahi (IE)

Honorable Mentions:

Fight Girls’ Mutilation 
led by Yvonne Njeri Mogwanja (CE)

led by Jinwoo Park (CS), Alice Zeng (CS), Benjamin Rochford (CS), Zachary Beckham (IE), Luke Dague (BME), Chandler Pitts (ME)

Resource Bridge
led by Samuel Costa (BA), Kathryn Farley (BME), Shenelle Campbell (Architecture), Swaraj Agarwal (ID) 

Solution Discovery Track Winner:

Invenovate ($2,500)
Team: Alejandro Campos (ME), Tillson Galloway (CS), Mark Saad (ME), Andre Prieto, Martin Jacobson (BME)


Atlanta Youth Energy Corps ($1,500)
Team: Sharon Gurung (Env. Engineering), Gwyn Rush (IA), Dakota Mitchell (Biology), Brittany Judson (Math & Econ)

Honorable Mentions:

led by Clotilde Bignard (MBA)

led by Usman Jamal (CS), Nevin Gilbert (CS), Reed Blanchard (ME), Amelia Abernathy (BA), Akash Harapanahalli (CE), Lauryn Wright (BME)

Specialty Prizes

People's Choice Award ($500):


Best Video Award ($500):


Best System/Stakeholder Map ($500):

Fight Girl’s Mutilation

Best Pitch Awards ($500):


Carrie’s Closet
Team: Huda Tauha (CS), Benjamin Frumkin (ME), Riley Geran (ChemE), Sakshie Rao (IA) 

Scheller Net Impact MBA Award ($500):


You can find descriptions of teams and their video presentations on the Ideas to Serve Teams page.

News Contact

Dori Pap, Assistant Director, Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Scheller College of Business