Crafting your entry
Follow the eight tips below for an entry that will engage and inspire the whole Bright Minds community.
1. USE CLEAR LANGUAGE
A public vote will decide which solutions should go through to the Top 10. So make sure your entry speaks to everyone, not just the scientific or business community. Think about how you would explain your project to a relative, friend or someone you meet on a plane – and apply that same thinking to the words in your entry. Don’t dumb down the science, or your achievement, but do try to make it accessible to all.
When using scientific terms or acronyms, be sure to explain what they mean.
2. Get straight to the point
Use your Solution summary, your title lines and the first 30 seconds or so of your video wisely – to capture people’s attention and get the most important messages across at a glance. It’ll keep people reading and viewing, and so could win you more votes.
Try to apply the journalistic notion of the “inverted pyramid”, with the must-know info right at the top. Then get going with the further details.
3. Set the scene
The scientific context is important. So as you answer “What is your solution?” be clear not just about what your solution is but also the scientific challenge it addresses – and why we should all care. And what has your team achieved that hasn’t been done previously? Try to get these messages into your answer to “What’s unique about your solution?”
Drop a few striking science facts and figures into your entry. It’ll add credibility and make it more interesting.
4. Tell a good story
Good stories always revolve around setbacks and twists. So as you answer “What’s unique about your solution?”, also try to share some of the key moments in your development process – when you realized you were asking the wrong question or saw, at last, that you were on to something big. The “oh-no” and “a-ha” moments will get people engaged and talking. You can also use these later on in the process, for your Bright Minds page updates.
Use your video to tell a moving story. Get our video-making tips.
5. Focus on ‘unique selling points’
You’ve only got a limited number of words to make your pitch to Bright Minds Challenge voters (aka the public). So try to whittle each of your answers down to the points that really define your solution and set it apart – compared to what others have done and what’s already out on the market.
As you answer “What’s unique about your solution?”, think about how you would sell its capabilities to a local authority or customer.
6. Put numbers in everyday terms
Try to bring some explanatory context to the key figures and performance measures that validate your solution. So that even people who don’t have all the technical knowledge can understand the significance. Give them something to hang the number on. If you can translate your solution’s capabilities into terms that are relevant to everyday life, it’ll help people visualize just how great your solution really is.
Instead of just stating the MW figure, you could explain that your solution “stores enough power in 1 hour to floodlight 10 football fields for a year”.
7. Explain how society can benefit
In the campaigning and voting phases of the Challenge, what will matter most will be your ability to explain your solution’s societal benefits. So before you start your written entry or video, make sure you’re clear what those benefits are and why they matter so much. Weave these messages throughout your entry.
8. And why your solution should win
We’re looking for the renewables solutions that’ll make the biggest difference at scale. So it’s important that you can describe not just what your solution can do now – but what will be possible with the benefit of expert support. What does scaling up look like? What’s in the way? Be as specific as you can within word limits.
Emphasize how your solution can improve people’s lives if it receives the support to scale up.
Review, Rewrite, Retake
As any successful writer or filmmaker will tell you, getting it right can take many attempts. So keep polishing. If there’s time after you’ve finished your entry, set it aside for a couple of days. Look at it again with fresh eyes. As friends and collagues took take a look and give feedback. Then re-do any parts that don’t fully convince. And submit. You can keep polishing right up until submissions close on 17 January 2017.
It’s not just for the Challenge. All the work you put into crafting your entry will help you pitch your solution to supporters and backers, long after the Challenge has finished.