Sometimes you need to crack a few eggs to make an omelet, but a group of University of Nebraska–Lincoln students this past week conceived ways to prevent eggs from cracking. The Innovation Challenge, hosted by the Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Business October 18-22, tasked students with constructing devices capable of protecting an egg when dropped from heights greater than 10 feet tall.
Teams received their challenge guidelines and material restrictions on the first day of the event, and needed to adhere by the rules or face disqualification. These included no parachutes, propulsion systems or pre-made kits, causing students to create the device from scratch. Given five dollars each and only the weekend to design, build and test their device, the teams immediately began to brainstorm a plan.
The contest, while fun and lighthearted, requires innovative thinking and problem solving. Dr. Samantha Fairclough, associate director for the Center for Entrepreneurship and assistant professor of practice in management, knew the students needed to use a variety of skills in order to be successful.
“Although the challenge is different every year, it requires creativity, collaboration, prototype testing, team-work, design skills and even a bit of construction and engineering knowledge,” said Fairclough. “Students enjoy being competitive, and this is the perfect introduction to some of the essential elements of entrepreneurship.”
The teams gathered in the lower level courtyard at Howard L. Hawks Hall to put their egg protectors to the test in two rounds. The first round required teams to drop their device from the top of the stairs onto the ground, and check to see if the egg remained safe from harm. The second round was the same, but from a greater height while trying to land in the center of a giant cardboard frying pan.
The challenge concluded with the judges awarding three teams trophies and Amazon gift cards. The Eggcellent winner award was presented to the team who kept their egg safe both rounds and landed closest to the center of the frying pan. The Egglicious award was given to the team whose device was the most visually pleasing. The final award was the Humpty Dumpty Award, given to the team whose egg broke in the most spectacular fashion.
Coming in first, and receiving the Eggcellent Winner award, was Team Project Nitrogen. After facing a restriction from the judges on not using a jar of peanut butter, the first place team went with their next best idea, straws and tape. Not only did their device keep the egg safe through both rounds, it also landed nearly directly at the center of the frying pan. A member of Project Nitrogen, Joey Osbron enjoyed the whole process of the challenge.
“From the drawing board stages to going out and acquiring our materials, it was fun creating and testing the device,” said Osbron. “With our first test run ending in an egg splattered all over, it was cool to see our device go from our failed attempt to winning the competition.”
The winning teams included:
Eggcellent Winner - Project Nitrogen
Egglicious Award - #LetsGetThatBread
Quincey Bernard, junior international business major from Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Joey Osbron, junior international business major from Valencia, California
Elise Raymond, senior marketing major from Seward, Nebraska
Caleb Sneed, senior supply chain management and analytics major from Kansas City, Missouri
The Humpty Dumpty Award - #Winners
Coleman Cooper, sophomore management and marketing major from Grand Island, Nebraska
Jacob Crawford, senior finance and management major from Hickman, Nebraska
Zach Kerkman, freshman computer science and mathematics major from Denton, Nebraska
Kyle Leaver, sophomore marketing major from West Barnstable, Massachusetts
Sarah Bubak, sophomore management major from Lincoln, Nebraska
Andy Mason, junior geology major from Kearney, Nebraska
Katie O’Neil, advertising and public relations major from Dunbar, Nebraska
Kyle Rhodes, junior mechanized systems management major from Gretna, Nebraska
Gabby Rodriguez, junior management major from Lincoln, Nebraska
The Innovation Challenge kicked off as the first of the center’s events over the academic year. The center’s next competition is the 3-2-1 Quick Pitch held November 1 and 2. Open to Nebraska high school and college students, young entrepreneurs will gather to pitch business ideas in hopes of winning cash prizes. To register for the event, visit: https://business.unl.edu/quickpitch
. To learn more about programs from the Center for Entrepreneurship, visit: https://business.unl.edu/entrepreneurship