June 1, 2017

Want to know what the YiA Judges are looking for?

Want to know what the YiA Judges are looking for?

The stakes for winning YiA are high (hello, up to a $12,000 prize!), but just like school assignments, if you want top marks, you'll need to meet certain criteria. If you want to win, you’ll need to shoot higher!

We have four worksheets to complete when you enter the Senior or Junior award:

  • Your Big Idea
  • The Problem
  • Your Research
  • Your Innovation
The Summary

So how do you turn these blank pieces of paper into a winning entry?

The judges will be looking at your product’s ability to deliver in 5 key areas. Each area can earn up to 5 points, for a max score of 25. We use a simple marking sheet to score you which you can see in our student resources list after logging in to your account.

Here are the categories.

The Problem

The Problem

The judges want to know what problem you are solving. Tell a story, explain how you discovered your problem and why it is important to solve.

To get full marks in this section, go a step further: show evidence of the research you did to find out that the problem truly is an issue in the real world. Use interviews, photographs, surveys, web research and more as proof.

The User

The Research

All great innovations solve problems for real people. Prove that you designed your idea specifically for a user in mind.

The judges are looking for evidence that you went into the real world and used a variety of research techniques, like market research and interviews, to understand and learn the problem and needs of your user.

You need to then outline any changes you have made to your idea based on this research and explain how you developed your thinking to meet the needs of your target audience.

The Solution

The Innovation

Explain how you came up with your solution. The judges want to understand your thinking process and the journey you took to try your innovative ideas out.

Show how your idea solves a problem and provide evidence of how your idea is better than what currently exists. Have you done a Google search to see what else is out there?

You also need to explain how your idea works and how you investigated the technologies required for it to work. It’s all good having a great idea, but is it feasible?


This part is all thinking about tomorrow’s world, not just today.  How does your innovation impact the 3 P’s – people, profit and the planet. The judges want to see that you have considered environmental factors related to your idea, such as the use of sustainable materials and technologies.

They want to know that you considered how your product would impact people and communities. After all we only have one earth, we need to look after it.


This is the part when you communicate your idea to the judges. There are two parts:

1. Worksheets: The Summary, The Problem, The Research, The Innovation

You will be judged on your ability to clearly explain your service or product to the judges. They want to see a range of effective communication styles, such as writing, sketching and prototyping. Complete the worksheets to a high quality by checking for errors and clearly labelling diagrams.

2. 30-Second Video

You will be judged how well you planned and made a video to communicate your problem, customer and solution. The more creative the better so get ideating!

To sum it up!

Now you know what the judges are looking for when they decide on a winner. Keep this in mind as you start developing your innovation! Remember, you need to register to enter the awards and entries are due by 4th July. Good luck!

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