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About the IDEAS Competition

What is the Monster Challenge?

Monster Worldwide (NYSE: MWW, www.monster.com) is teaming up with the IDEAS Competition and challenging students to come up with innovative ideas and implementable solutions to help change web-based job search technology. This is an exciting chance for students to work with Monster to develop feasible, innovative and effective solutions to revolutionize the way that people look for jobs.

How it works

Monster is sponsoring an IDEAS award for 2010 for an innovative solution that solves a problem in the area of job search technology and systems. Create at will -- all possibilities and types of solutions are welcome.  Winning teams will receive up to $8000 to allow them to make their idea a reality!

IDEAS entries are judged on their innovation, feasibility and community impact. The IDEAS Competition is open to everyone, but at least 1/3 of each team must be comprised of full-time MIT students and MIT students must have made a significant contribution to the innovation.

Monster will provide staff to act as consultants and mentors for participating teams (see resources below) in addition to the support systems that are already offered through IDEAS:

Initial proposals, development grant requests and feedback sessions
Teams may submit an initial proposal on the 15th of each month, through March 2010. Teams will receive constructive feedback and advice from IDEAS and Monster Worldwide staff to help them improve their projects and prepare a final proposal. The earlier teams submit an initial proposal, the more opportunities there will be to get feedback and strengthen it for the final submission! Teams may also take advantage of Development Grants that can help to develop their idea and prepare for the final proposal to judges. Complete directions for proposal submission can be found on the web: http://web.mit.edu/ideas/www/submit.htm

Final proposals, poster and judging sessions
Final proposals are due on April 15, 2010 and teams present their projects to judges during a poster and judging session on April 26, 2010.

Winner’s retreat
Winners are announced at an awards ceremony on May 3, 2010 and winning teams then attend a two-day retreat later in May to define their goals and plans for implementation. Teams have a year to spend their award money.

Information to help you win the Monster Challenge
Search technology, as one of the key enabling technologies of the web, has always been a focus of innovation and has seen numerous advances in recent years, enabling applications and services to be more usable, more efficient, and smarter.  The job search space in particular has seen numerous advances, as the industry is starting to move past single-destination keyword-matching search, and into aggregation, semantic search, and new means of input for matching, like visual search.  All of these technological developments in the enabling search technology have potential to transform the job search industry, by improving the systems behind the user’s experience.  But new and innovative user interfaces and interactions are also needed to maximize the effectiveness of these powerful new systems.  How could the re-envisioning of, and improvements to, the interactions and presentation layer of emergent search technology help revolutionize the way people look for jobs?

Give consideration the larger trends in search – do not limit yourself to existing technology and methods in the job search space – and create an innovative UI to enable users to search for jobs more efficiently, more effectively.  Your approach may be any of the following: the practical application of innovative concepts in other domains, the integration/mashup of existing services to contextualize existing search functionality within the job search space, or simply re-envisioning the presentation layer of existing job search solutions like those currently offered by Monster Worldwide. Can you discover a new technology and front-end visualization that improves search interfaces within the realm of online Job Searching? Your solution should address at least one usage context outside the Web browser (for example: tablets, smart phones, virtual worlds), identify a product concept that is well-suited to that particular context, and should consider how users move between that context and their traditional Web browser usage.

Submissions will be judged for their innovation and effectiveness as well as their feasibility. Some key questions will be: How clearly is your specific value proposition defined and demonstrated?  What differentiates your solution from the competition?  Is your solution a viable commercial product and if so, how would it generate revenue? How will your solution integrate with existing services and platforms?

When rethinking search interfaces it may be useful to explore conceptual metaphors that can help characterize the interfaces and interactions for job search and career planning: What makes a Job? What makes a Career?


February 15:

Initial proposal submission date

February 24:

IDEAS Spring Generator Dinner. The IDEAS Generator is your chance to learn more about the annual IDEAS competition, share your project ideas and skills, and meet potential team members.

February XX:

Monster Challenge reception. This reception will be a chance to meet and speak with Monster.com staff and other participants interested in this challenge.

March 15:

Initial proposal submission date

April 15:

Final proposal deadline

April 26:

Poster and Judging Session

May 3:     

Award Ceremony

May 25-26:

Winner’s Retreat


Monster Worldwide has mentors available to work with teams; helping brainstorm ideas, answering questions, coaching and giving advice. IDEAS staff are also available to help.

Giles Phillips
Director of Innovation

For IDEAS staff: please contact ideas-admin@mit.edu