In its third year, the Shobe Prize competition ran through fall quarter. Finalist entries were selected at the beginning of 2013, and finalist teams pitched their ideas to a judging panel at the beginning of February. The judging panelists were Greg Gottesman, Managing Director, Madrona Venture Group; Beth Kolko, Professor, Human Centered Design & Engineering; James Landay, Professor, Computer Science & Engineering; Shwetak Patel, Assistant Professor, Computer Science & Engineering and Electrical Engineering; Andy Sack, Executive Director, TechStars Seattle; and Matt Shobe, Design Advisor, BigDoor.com and founder of the Shobe Prize.
This year, two entries were selected, and the teams will each work through the spring and summer on their projects, with office space from HCDE and mentoring from Shobe, the judges, HCDE faculty, and industry partners.
One of the winning entries is Go Go Games Studios, a startup founded by HCDE PhD student Alexis Hiniker and Stanford University Graduate School of Education alumni Joy Wong Daniels and Heidi Williamson. The team has already created and launched several games to aid children with autism. Their next project, for which they entered the Shobe Prize competition, will be to develop another video game for autistic children, this time with a focus on speech therapy. Shobe and the other judges were impressed with Hiniker, Daniels, and Williamson.
Commenting on their presentation, Shobe said, "This is by far the most mature product pitch we've seen in three years of the Prize. This team's focus on games to aid children on the autism spectrum is admirable by itself but the design of the games they've already launched suggests tremendous potential—and customer reviews and other accolades they've already gathered back this up. The track record of creative collaboration the three team members have is a great foundation. I'm looking forward to working with the team on strategies to substantially expand market awareness and enrich the available game catalog by tapping into Seattle's considerable autism community expertise."
The other winning entry is re:chattr (recently rebranded from its original name, Feedback Sandwich), created by Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) PhD student Katie Kuksenok and HCDE PhD student Michael Brooks. Feedback Sandwich is described on its website as a "non-awkward way to ask for constructive feedback that is nutritious, tasty, and easy to swallow."
Regarding re:chattr, Shobe said: "Katie Kuksenok's team has a slightly snarky yet earnestly self-improvement-minded, real-time feedback service in here somewhere, and I can't wait until we expose it—because I gotta hear the snappy retort it'll deliver when that happens. Katie's team pitched a system to solicit "non-awkward" feedback from friends and colleagues and we see all sorts of interesting mobile applications for this in conference, academic, public speaking, and jai alai stadium settings. (One of these may be patently false.) I want to help Katie's team define the product and set milestones to ship a working version before summer's end."
Shobe graduated with a Master of Science from HCDE in 1996. After working on several startups, including FeedBurner, Shobe began mentoring Seattle-area startups through TechStars and Startup Weekend. This was his inspiration for founding the Shobe Prize in 2010. He is currently Design Advisor at bigdoor.com, a Seattle startup. More information about the Shobe Prize can be found on the Shobe Prize website.