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Imagine Cup is the world’s largest and most famous software development competition for Computer Sciences & Engineering, Information Technology and Information Systems undergraduates. Imagine Cup competition is called the Oscars or the Olympics of software development competitions for the IT undergraduates around the world.  For every IT undergraduate, wining Imagine Cup is their biggest dream in their life.

Imagine Cup was an idea of Microsoft former CEO Bill Gates, who strongly believes that young and fresh talent can create innovations and change the world taking it into another dimension. Based on his idea, the world’s biggest software development company Microsoft launched this competition for the first time in 2004. Since then millions of students around the world compete each other with impressive innovative ideas and projects not only to win this competition, but also do some change in the world.

Over the years, many mind-blowing innovations, charity projects, fancy games were build by the most talented IT Undergraduates creating great impact to areas like mechatronics, healthcare, Smart Phone apps and many more. Thousands of new startups started because of these projects and  now they earn millions and millions of money out of them. Some projects are running as a charity and serve the millions of people around the world to uplift their life standards.

Since 2004, Imagine Cup has happened nine times up to now, so in year 2014 Imagine Cup is going to be the 10th Imagine Cup and its a cause for cleebrations. Microsoft Sri Lanka also conduct this competition over the years and this year it will happen on 25th of April at Peradeniya University. There are 14 teams in three different categories which compete with each other to win the competition in each category. For each category, there will be only one winner, but other teams can also consider themselves as winners too for coming thus far.

I told many stories about Imagine Cup in this article, but why? Because I’m also a competitor of Imagine Cup Sri Lankan finals in 2012 and also 1st runner up in innovation category in 2013 and finalist of this year Imagine Cup finals too. Since I was a finalist in 2012 to now, I have lots of stories to share with you. But apart from them I’ll tell you some important things that you may need to know about it. Because it may help you, may be your friend, even your institute to win this competition and do some good thing to the world.

  • Find a great business idea which can  be executed well in the challenging world.
  • Find ways to build that business idea into a real world solution.
  • Don’t worry about the technology, it will come to you when you try to find it.
  • Be smart to find the necessary skills and resources for your project.
  • Assign the tasks according to the skills of the team member.
  • Sacrifice little bit of your life for your project, which will earn not only money but also the recognition.
  • Think, Think and Think. Finally brainstorming with your team.
  • Never give up when you face failure, keep concentrating and try it in another way.
  • Don’t go behind success, then it will not come to you. But go behind the goals that you need to go. Then success will come behind you.
  • Learn everything in your project 100% and share among your team.
  • Never underestimate your competitors and prepare everything for the project.
  • Teat your team members equally and work with them in a friendly manner. Stress may create conflicts between team members.

These things helped me a lot to achieve many milestones in this Imagine Cup. Not only Imagine Cup, but also any project in your life can be successful if you follow above mentioned things.

Don’t worry about it if  you are not selected for any competition like Imagine Cup. Keep trying to find the mistakes that you had done and try to mitigate them. Imagine Cup is kind of an exam which test your technological skills, business skills, management skills and confidence to achieve your goal.

Let’s make this world a better place through sustainable technological revolution. Wishes to all competing in Imagine Cup 2014, let’s bring glory to Sri Lanka!

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Mohamed Shehan, Stephan Udumalagala, Amal Gunatilake and Kishore Kumar the ‘Firebirds’ team from Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT), who won the local Microsoft Imagine Cup in April this year set off to St Petersburg, Russia last Sunday to compete in the World Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition.
Members of the Firebirds team – Stephan Udumalagala, Amal Gunatilake, Mohamed Shehan, Kishore Kumar before their departure
The make up of this winning team is not unusual in itself, taking into consideration, the ethnic diversity of Sri Lanka. However, what is worthy of celebration is the unity of our very diversity in the four young men representing 4 ethno-religious groups who were able to synergize their talents and work closely together in harmony for over five months to produce a winning project that may win international accolades. Of the Firebirds team, Amal is a Sinhala Buddhist, Stephan a Sinhala Roman Catholic, Kishore a Tamil Hindu and the team leader Shehan is a Muslim.
What is unique about them is that they came together in total harmony to achieve a common goal using their expertise in the various areas of IT and commerce, without giving any thought to, or even realizing their different ethnic or religious origins. The team who worked closely together for over a period of 5 months despite their final year work load at IIT said that it was Kishore who laughingly pointed out their different ethno-religious origins on the day they presented their project at the local awards function.
Their project I-Chum which is Shehan’s invention is a visual aid for the blind. The team had thought of every aspect of its success with Software Engineering students Stephan and Amal with Kishore who is a Business Management student planning the marketing aspects of the project.

Source: Daily News