Worcester Polytechnic Institute alumnus Karen Padir will judge the 2015 i3 competition.
Progress is headquartered in the Greater Boston area, a hotbed of innovation surrounded by some of the best known colleges and universities in the world. It is the environment that launched and continues to sustain our company. The vibrancy of the innovation culture here is critical to everyone’s future because it is innovation that increasingly makes the world go around.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), just west of Boston, where I earned my bachelor’s degree in computer science as well as my MBA, is working to foster this culture through its Investing in Ideas with Impact (i3) competition for grad students. This year, on April 13, I will be one of the judges for the event.
WPI’s campus-wide competition adds a dimension to the solid, quantitative engineering skills that are at the core of the student experience. i3 helps to stretch these skills further, encouraging graduate students to develop entrepreneurial thinking—understanding how an innovation can meet a societal need—while also exercising the complex skills needed to market and promote an idea, starting with potential investors.
One of the most challenging aspects of the competition is that all of this thinking about technology and business needs to be distilled into a crisp, three minute “pitch” delivered without visual aids!
i3 resonates with me not only because of my connections to WPI—I’m currently a member of the board of trustees—but also because it mirrors the way we operate at Progress. Our foundation is technical excellence but we are always looking at how technology can be applied to address forthcoming challenges and transform organizations. Technology organizations sometimes stumble in this regard. They are either too focused on bits and bytes or else feverishly trying to package and promote “solutions” without having a solid technology base. i3 is one way in which the need to do both is being modeled.
In the near future, I will be reporting back on the results of the competition. And I’m personally looking forward to hearing some great pitches!
Karen Tegan Padir is the president of the Application Development and Deployment Business Unit at Progress, reporting to President and Chief Executive Officer Phil Pead. Padir, a 20-year software industry veteran, is responsible for the strategy and growth of Progress application development assets including Telerik, Modulus, Rollbase and the Pacific Platform.
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