Behind CoolIdeas – IdeiTari
In a previous post I was telling you about CoolIdeas (IdeiTari) contest, held by one of the main player in the Romanian telecom industry, Romtelecom. I got the chance of going behind the scenes and interview the project manager, Ionela Paunica. So here it is for you, just to know better the people that made it possible.
Personally, I believe that the most important part in everything is the idea. How did you come up with the idea of Cool Ideas contest (in Romanian, IdeiTari)?
Because we are talking about an area where technology evolves rapidly, and innovation is essential for its further development, we thought we should organize a contest in which young talented and passionate of telecommunications could come up with innovative projects and be in the same time, rewarded for their ideas. It is an approach directly related to the business of Romtelecom, as a telecom operator.
For Romtelecom, as a company, what was the main reason behind this contest?
Students and young people in general need to be close to the realities of the IT&C market, as they anyway collect, directly or indirectly, the benefits of it. That is why the genuinely interested persons in this area don’t need just to concentrate on the theoretical aspects of the study, they need to be challenged on the practical side as well.
Romtelecom wants to be close to the fresh minds of the young people and their new ways of communicating and relating with the society.
This is therefore a win-win situation in the interaction between Romtelecom and the young people, in which both parties have something to learn and to gain.
Did you have any models in mind while starting or doing this (other companies, other similar contests)?
We looked on other such contests addressed to the young people and tried to come with a different and attractive concept for them.
I suspect that Romtelecom invested a lot of time, money and effort in this contest. But what was the hardest part for you as an organizer in the first edition?
Even if it might not seem so, it was a complex project and its management in itself was quite challenging. It was in many ways difficult, but it was in many other rewarding – such as keeping in touch with all the contestants and being there for them and helping them with any issues that they encountered.
In your opinion, what was the main gain for you as a company and as individuals in the first edition?
We got the chance to show young people the tremendous changes which Romtelecom went through in the past years – this company is completely different than the one they used to recall from their childhood when fixed telephony was the only service available from us. Many of the participants told us that the company is now among the top places to consider when looking for a job in the telecom area, as it is a modern company which offers real opportunities to young people.
Let’s jump a little bit on the other side – the contestants. If given the chance, will you enroll to such a contest? If yes, what will be your driving factor, except the cash prize?
The challenge in itself. I would get the chance to test my ideas and to receive valuable feedback from professionals. On the other hand, I like the brand of the contest – Idei tari (Cool Ideas).
What is your main focus when judging the ideas?
The projects were marked, mainly, depending on the innovation level, the applicability of the ideas and the capacity to offer solutions.
Is there a “success profile” for a contestant?
The quality of the projects mattered a lot, beside the ideas and the presentation skills, which helped them to highlight the ideas. But rather than this, nothing else. Keep in mind that a 13 years boy had the courage to compete on equal bases with master’s students and he even won a special prize for the most innovative idea.
In the end, any other tips for the contestants?
To be confident and never give up, even if maybe at the contest’s moment he/she couldn’t perform at his/her best.