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: Reitz Union – Rion ballroom
    • Summer B: July 28th at 2pm-4:30pm
    • Students arrive for setup at 1:40pm

Student Catalyst Registration Summer B



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

Award Descriptions


The innovations awarded the Make It Happen designation are evaluated on their potential for implementation. The team has done an outstanding job developing a well-designed prototype that could be easily and quickly executed in the real world without much, or any, iteration.


This category aligns with the University of Florida’s Gator Good social network campaign, urging Gators worldwide to be change makers – finding innovative solutions to the big challenges facing our planet. The innovation awarded in this category provides cutting-edge solutions to global social challenges such as economic crisis, natural disaster, health disparity, poverty and hunger, education & learning, environmental sustainability, and human rights.


The Bright Idea Award is offered to a team who embraces creative thinking. This category awards an innovation that is novel, unique, and has a “wow” factor. The innovation uses ingenuity and imagination to grab your attention, demonstrates out-of-the-box thinking, and makes you say WHOA! What a cool idea!


The Power of Design award recognizes the innovation and presentation that demonstrates exceptional visual design and communicates value in a clear, cohesive, and branded way. The aesthetics of the prototype and presentation are interesting, creative, beautiful, and well-designed. The team’s presentation skills are polished and enhance the appeal of the innovation.


The Judges award is presented to a remarkable team that stood out for reasons other than the aforementioned categories. This is a team that has a dynamic presentation of their prototype, clearly incorporates creative thinking, and demonstrates a high potential for implementation and impact of their innovation.


The people’s choice award is given to the innovation that displays the most mass-appeal. All Catalyst attendees voted for their favorite team throughout the showcase at designated polling stations. The People’s choice award goes to the team with the highest total points.

Winners of Summer A 2017 Catalyst:


The average American doesn’t have time to apply sunscreen before sun exposure. At Ray-Wipes we provide quick and easy access to sunscreen in the form of wipes while on the go. Our company strategically places Ray-Wipe dispensers by the main exits in buildings such as schools, malls, and other public areas. Our mission is to prevent skin cancer through healthy, eco-friendly and regular use of sunscreen to all those under the sun.


Checkmate is an innovative glucose meter for diabetics that eliminates the need for disposable test strips. American diabetics use 2-8 test strips daily, which cost an average of $.98 per test strip. With over 29 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes, this is a highly marketable product. Checkmate functions similarly to a traditional meter, but it contains a unique detachable test strip that’s reusable when cleaned. This device will save diabetics hundreds of dollars every year.


ARI is an instrument parents can use at home that will help recognize any signs or symptoms of autism in their child before he age of 3. Three common signs of autism are avoiding eye contact, not responding to their own name, and repeating words or phrases. Our instrument will incorporate all three of these factors in an interactive toy that the child can play with in a natural environment.


An ad campaign for the working-class American citizens who suffer from a dependency on fast food products for meals. This campaign aims to deter potential consumers from these restaurants by waking them up to the fast food advertisements which sneak into our subconscious and get us to crave processed food that is extremely unhealthy/


We are going to build a mattress from recycled shirts that have been overproduced and from flax seed. This will be our prototype. We will weave the shirts together and use flax for linens in place of springs. However, our goal is to donate the materials to developing countries and reach branch locations to build the mattresses. That way jobs will be created in these areas and it will be more of a success than other such endeavors.


Childhood obesity is one of Alachua County’s biggest problems. Cut it is an app that promotes physical fitness and healthy eating. The App will recognize when the user is in a gym, yoga class, dance class, etc… and will give points for every 30 minutes the user is working out. With these points, the user can turn them in to receive coupons towards healthy restaurants in Gainesville. For example, Grill Fresh and 3Natives.

Winners of Summer B 2017 Catalyst:


Wouldn’t you like to know how much Mercury is that piece of fish you’re eating? Or even touching? The next time you go fishing, come prepared with your HoOKED strips! Check your fish before you wreck your dish (or ship)!


The .Pack exists within the intersections of accessibility, simplicity, and environmental consciousness. Introducing a reusable sanitary product that will replace the need for disposable pads and tampons while cutting down on expenses, waste, and discomfort over time. We strive not only to make a good product, but to create a culture of inclusivity through advocacy, donation, and entrepreneurship with the end goal being to destigmatize menstruation.


GeneroCity seeks to improve public health by combating community apathy. We realize that not everyone is confident enough to approach strangers. With our application GeneroCity, we strive to integrate the homeless population with the rest of the community. Through sharing the homeless’ stories, aspirations, and needs, we hope the community can learn to be more compassionate. Our application gives community members an easy way to directly impact and connect with their local homeless population.


Achieving a healthy lifestyle can be intimidating and inaccessible for many. We believe that raising awareness of nutrition will have a profound impact on climbing obesity rates, chronic disease rates, and the overall health of Floridians. We chose to take a technological approach to solving the lack of nutrition awareness with an app, PYRA, that tailors nutritional information to each user. PYRA’s mission is to ensure that every Floridian has the right to nutritious food.


Agaria is a safer and more environmentally friendly tampon.


Bridge2Care is a dual-benefit program designed to encourage college students to discuss their mental health and overall well-being with trained graduate students looking to gain practical experience. Bridge2Care will make sure that each student has an opportunity to be heard and find help when necessary.