Creating Your Video Pitch for NICEE

May 4, 2016

Creating Your Video Pitch for NICEE

The National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo has a judging element that might be new to some of your participating:  The 4-minute video pitch. We thought we would provide some further information for you as you prepare your pitches for the judges — both online and in person in DC.

Here’s the best advice we can give you:  Think of your National Invention Convention pitch as if you are telling a friend a story. Your goal is to take your listeners on a journey.

Pitch Guidelines

  • Maximum length = 4-minutes
  • There should be NO editing or production
  • The video should run continuously, no stopping and starting the recording device

We want to keep this simple and to make sure that everyone is on a level playing field. Don’t worry if you bobble a bit. That’s not important. We want to hear your story. Relax and have fun!

Your story should include:

  • Hook: Be passionate and give your audience a strong, but brief statement to tell them where you are going and why they should listen. The best hooks with inventions is often to talk about how you came to invent the product to begin with. If you invented this because you have a friend with a problem, or your grandmother has arthritis, or you had headaches all summer, these are great, real-world reasons for why your invention exists. We love these stories about how your invention came to be!
  • Consideration of the audience: Think of your audience. What is their interest? In this instance, the main audience are judges who will be working in accordance with a judging rubric.  Make sure your story responds to how you will be evaluated.

Here are the NICEE criteria that are appropriate to your online video:

  • Process
    • Problem identification: Is the problem well identified and real? Is it clear why this is a problem and who has the problem?
    • Process to create solution: Did you perform the appropriate research, testing and iterative learning? Did you appropriately and thoroughly research your invention?
    • Reasoning: Was critical thinking used to understand the problem and develop a solution? Did you employ critical thinking skills?
  • Solution
    • Justification: Is this solution the best way to solve the problem? Do you  appropriately justify the path you took to getting to the invention as it is now?
    • Prototype: Does the prototype work? Is it a functional and well thought through design?
    • Protectable: Is the solution protectable from an IP perspective? Is the solution original and novel?
  • Impact
    • Market size: Is the potential market large and/or viable? Is the market scoped appropriately?
    • Society: Does this invention provide potential benefits to people and society?
    • Environment: If applicable, does the invention consider the environment? Does it improve environmental conditions or have minimal adverse impact?
  • Presentation/Pitch
    • Verbal: Is your body language, charisma, enthusiasm, inflection, pace, volume, and clarity appropriate and compelling?
    • Visuals: Do the prototype, poster, logbook and any other visuals support the need for and function of invention?
    • Teams (if appropriate): Did every participant on the team speaks/contribute in the video.
  • Simple language and graphics – With limited time, your audience needs to understand your invention and the path you took to get there. They will be listening to several other pitches. One of the best ways to standout is to keep your language and communication simple.
  • A strong close – Finishing strong is important. Sometimes it’s good to ask for some type of support; other times, it makes sense to challenge the audience in some way. Either way the close should tie in to your opening delivering the audience safely back from its journey.

Besides practicing and getting feedback, you will pitch best when you smile, speak loudly, create eye contact, and have FUN!!  These videos will do double duty as being pitch videos for TV shows, so it’s ok to ham it up a bit.

For younger students, it might be helpful for mom and/or dad to prompt you with questions — that’s ok, it’s what would happen in the Judging Circle too.  So questions like:

  • Can you tell me how you thought of this invention?
  • What problem are you trying to solve with this invention?
  • How does your invention work?
  • Have you (or others) used the invention and did it work?
  • What did you learn in making the invention that caused you to make changes to the design?
  • Who do you think will use this invention?  Are there many of these types of people in the world?
  • What impact on the environment do you think your invention will have?
  • Does your invention help the world at all, or just a few people?

Here’s a link to information on How to Upload Videos to YouTube.  IMPORTANT: Do not set videos as “private” on YouTube or Vimeo. This will leave them inaccessible to the judges.  Set videos to either “public” or “unlisted”.

We’re really looking forward to seeing you in Washington, DC and can’t wait to learn about you and your invention.

Let’s have a lot of fun,

Bill Kenney
NICEE Community Builder

NICEE is made possible by the generous contributions of United Technologies, Corp., Stanley Black & Decker, and The Lemelson Foundation.


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