A little friendly competition and a lot of hard work are the hallmarks of the Fox School of Business Management Information Systems Capstone Project Showcase, an event where teams of MIS seniors present their final projects.Last semester, though, fun won out over hard, when a panel of judges awarded first prize to the team that built findr, a mobile app that sends people out, scavenger hunt style, into the city of Philadelphia tracking down fun things to do, see and eat.
Giovanna Corridoni, a recent MIS and International Business graduate who was part of the winning team, says that creating a capstone project is, “intense, more intense than a paper or a case study.”
One of the hardest parts was figuring out what to do in the first place, she says. The team wanted “something worth doing” that could have a solid business plan. If they didn’t create something people wanted to do, or buy, “what’s the point?”
Jordan Szenicer also said that agreeing on a viable idea was tough. The five person team (which included himself, Corridoni, Jalen Blot, Matt Philips and Chaitra Nataraj) had two brainstorming sessions with no big epiphany until he shared his own wish that sites like Yelp served as better guides for urbane exploration. “I wished there was something that just scouted out a day for me.”
So that’s what they built.
The application is designed to take the user from point to point in a city, with incentives for visiting each spot. Take a picture at the Rocky statue and get the address of a great restaurant; go to the restaurant and get a free appetizer. Then continue onto a concert that the app tells you is happening—rather than hearing that a great band is town too late to get to the show.
The revenue stream would come from partnering with restaurants, Corridoni says, and the target market was 18 to 35 year olds— people who want to explore, but are overwhelmed with choices so “always go back to the same restaurant.
The road to completing the explore and enjoy app wasn’t smooth. Both Szenicer and Corridoni say that there was a last minute scramble to pull everything together.
But they pulled it off, and won. The actual prize was 100 Diamond Dollars for each member of the team, but Corridoni says the reward was really that she got to use her skills to create something awesome.
Alumnus Ben Hasan, Senior Vice President, IT Strategic Services, at Walmart, served as the team’s mentor and thinks they won because both the product and the presentation was the best.
Szenicer says, “After our presentation ended, I knew at that moment that we won. I was so proud of all of us. I just felt so great in what we had achieved.”
Of course, just completing and presenting a capstone project is quite an achievement.
Other projects presented at the December event included:
A gamification-based app that aims to reduce the time it takes for new-hires to become 100% proficient in their job.
Mentor: Michael Bradshaw
The smartphone application and dashboard provide schools and local police with a tool to better respond, secure, and evacuate during a school shooting.
Mentor: Bruce Fadem
HealthFit Pro is a lifestyle application that enables diabetic and non-diabetic users to take control of their health by monitoring their diet, exercise and glucose readings.
Mentor: Tim O’Rourke
ZAP is a gamified energy management app. that displays real-time energy use relative to other citizens with similar homes in their zip code, city, or state.
Mentor: Jeff Hamilton
TIM- Time is Money
TIM is a mobile app that allows people to outsource waiting in line, so they can best take advantage of all of their free time.
Mentor: Joseph Spagnoletti