Overview/Registration2017 ChallengeGuidelinesPreparationsAttireAwards

What is Catalyst?

Catalyst is the culminating event for the Creativity-in-Action practicum course. Innovation Academy students present and display a prototype of a product, service, or model developed in a team environment inspired by the human-centered design thinking process of innovation. Catalyst is an opportunity for first-year IA students to demonstrate their creativity, passion, and dedication to innovation. Guests include UF administrators, college faculty & staff, IA speakers, local business leaders, innovators, patent attorneys, and venture capitalists.

Event Details

    • Location: Emerson Hall
    • Summer A: June 9th at 2pm-4:30pm
    • Students arrive for setup at 1:40pm

Student Catalyst Registration Summer A

 Registration is now closed 




Answers the Big Idea: “How might we support physical health and wellness for community members in the state of Florida?
Novel: Clearly demonstrates a new approach to a problem, or uses an existing approach in a unique and interesting way. Something that hasn’t been done before and does not already exist.
Appropriate: Design solution is ethical, legal, and works to solve a pressing and real problem
Context: Team has thoroughly researched the people, places, and industries that will be served by the innovation. Empathetic human-centered design is evident.
Desirable: Innovation will easily fit into people’s lives, it will appeal to people to use or buy, and people will actually want it
Feasible: Technology to make the design solution is available or within reach, innovation can be made or implemented in a reasonable amount of time, and a business or organization can foreseeably make the design solution happen
Viable: Design solution will realistically align with business or organizational goals, is financially possible, and has potential for a return on investment
Well-Presented: Visual components are aesthetically strong, well-organized, and catch viewer’s attention. The pitch is professional, compelling, interactive, relatable, clear, and demonstrates a vision for future implementation

Remember that Catalyst is a well-attended event by University faculty and administration, innovation business leaders, and potential internship or job employers. You want to make a good impression!

To be prepared for Catalyst make sure:

  • Project follows Submission Guidelines (previous tab)
  • For summer A, teams must be registered no later than 11:59pm on Sunday, May 28th; Registration form is on the main Catalyst page
  • For summer B, teams must be registered no later than 11:59pm on Sunday, July 9th; Registration form is on the main Catalyst page
  • Attendance is required and part of your grade for IDS 1359
  • If you cannot make Catalyst due to a class conflict, you must notify your instructor no later than 2 weeks prior to the event. The IA office can provide a letter for a student to be excused from their other class during that time.
  • Dress is business casual or business attire (see Attire tab)
  • Arrive prior to the event for set-up
    • See parking map for parking locations (on main Catalyst page)
    • Set up beings at 1:40pm
    • Ready to begin pitching at 1:55pm
    • Event starts at 2:00pm
  • Poster and Prototype specifications:
    • Poster 24” x 36” mounted on foam core. No tri-fold poster boards
    • Bring easel or stand so that the Poster stands upright on the table (there are no walls to prop the poster on)
    • Total display space is 6 ft. table. Entirety of poster, prototype, and display must fit on table
    • Batteries fully-charged on all devices and prototypes (there are no available power sources to plug into)
    • Provide battery power supply if prototype requires electrical power
    • You will be provided with a black table cloth for the table
  • Poster, Prototype, and Pitch Suggestions
    • Poster is well-designed, professional, and visible
    • All team members are present, visible, and actively engaged in the pitching process
    • Prepare both 30 sec. and 60 sec. pitches of your project
    • Be prepared to answer questions, like: How would you actually execute this prototype if given the opportunity to startup?
    • Take turns pitching among your group so that one person isn’t doing all the work
    • Practice, practice, practice before the event!
    • Be prepared for feedback. With some refining, your good idea could be eligible for pitch competitions (to win money) or even to take to market and start a business! Receptivity to constructive feedback is how innovators make it happen.
    • Utilize resources and people on campus who can help you develop a professional-looking prototype. Prototypes can be made with inexpensive or free materials and still look professional and polished.
    • Have fun! Innovative minds are collaborative, playful, and optimistic.

Poster Printing Cost & Resources:

  • UF Library printing plotters (cheaper option, but requires knowledge of printing preparation and software as well as self-mounting. Will need to buy your own foam core and adhesive for mounting)
    • Est. cost: $9 printing, $7-10 board and adhesive
  • Target Copy (can choose to self-mount or have them provide foam board & mount for a fee). If you tell them you are an IA student and give them your instructor’s name and section, you can receive a 10% discount for being with IA.
    • Est. cost before discount: $18 printing, $20 dry mounting
    • Target Copy Contact: Karen Kain

Business Casual

The key to business casual is exactly what the name implies; it’s not quite business professional, but not casual either. You want to aim for attire that would be appropriate in a casual office setting. Typically, you should steer clear of denim, such as jeans, although the individual setting may allow for a dark-wash, clean cut jean to be worn. If you are unsure of the setting, air on the side of caution and go with a crisp pair of khakis, which will work in any setting described as business casual.

Some examples of what may be worn in typical business casual attire are as follows:

  • Skirt, khakis, or pants
  • Open-collar shirt, knit shirt or sweater (no spaghetti straps or décolleté)
  • Dress
  • Seasonal sport coat or blazer with slacks or khakis
  • Dress shirt, casual button-down shirt, open-collar or polo shirt
  • Flats, heels, or nice sandals; no flip-flops, sneakers, or platform heels
  • Loafers or loafer-style shoes or closed-toe dress shoes


Products and/or services awarded the Make it Happen designation are evaluated on their potential for implementation. The team has done an outstanding job in demonstrating a clear path for implementing their proposed solution, and articulating a viable strategy for taking the product/service to market.

THE GATOR GOOD AWARD (formerly The Common Good):

This new award category aligns with the University of Florida’s 2017 Gator Good Social Network Campaign, urging Gators worldwide to be change makers – finding innovative solutions to the big challenges facing our planet. The product/service awarded in this category provides cutting-edge solutions to global social challenges such as: health, economic crisis, natural disasters, education, poverty and hunger, medicine, human rights, and environmental sustainability.


The Bright Idea Award is awarded based on passion, ingenuity, novelty, vision, and imagination demonstrated in the creation of a product/service. This project/service exemplifies out-of-the-box thinking in design, process, and innovation.


Products/services awarded the Power of Design Award reflect empathy, integrative thinking, optimism, experimentalism and collaboration, demonstrating teams’ understanding of the Design Thinking process. The product/service design integrates the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.


We want to hear what you think! CATALYST attendees vote for their favorite teams throughout the showcase at designated polling stations. The People’s Choice Award will go to the team with the highest total points.


Judges award a remarkable team that stood out for reasons other than the aforementioned categories.