Innovation Works Competition

Sponsored by the Lockheed Martin Corporation

October 21-23, 2022

9/21/22 Update: Qualification theme is now announced. Team registration is open.

Fall 2022 Event - October 21-23, 2022

Given the importance of innovation, the Lockheed Martin (LM) company is sponsoring a competition to:

Find, inspire, and recognize students who have new and innovative ideas!

Hopefully, you can compete and innovate the way the US designs, delivers, and sustains a future generation of products.

The name of this competition is a tip of the hat to Lockheed’s famous Advanced Development Programs group, commonly known as the Skunk Works. The Skunk Works is responsible for delivering amazing and innovative aircraft like the high-altitude U-2, the tri-sonic SR-71, and the stealthy F-117 (and more).

The Lockheed Martin company is the lead and principal sponsor of this competition. They are providing inspiration, funding, judges, and critical insight. WSU’s Aerospace Engineering department and NASA, via WSU’s Space Grant, are helping with administrative and other aspects.

The contest will be conducted in two phases. All teams entering the competition will participate in the first qualifying phase. The top twelve qualifying teams will be invited to participate in the final phase starting October 21st.

Competition Judges, Scoring, & Feedback

Judges from a variety of organizations, including Lockheed Martin, will play a critical role in the competition. Competition participation will be virtual. Team members must exercise social distancing and comply with all standing health guidelines (e.g., wearing masks) as they participate.

Short 3-minute team presentations or elevator pitches will be utilized, in the final phase of the competition, to present your work, to facilitate communications and to score competitors. To help teams and to foster learning, the participating judges will provide measured feedback and input to contestants during presentation sessions.

Unique methods of illustrating your solution may be appropriate and are allowed. For example, physical demonstrations and simulations could be very effective. However, be extremely careful to stay within the competition time and virtual presentation format (Zoom) limits.

Do a good job preparing your elevator pitches. Most importantly, practice, practice, practice, practice!
Pre-Competition Workshops and Resources

Short videos and references* on “design thinking” and how to do effective “elevator pitches,” to help participants prepare before the competition starts, are available in the following links:

"Crash Course in Pitching" -

"Design Thinking Part 1" -

"Design Thinking Part 2" -

"Design Thinking Part 3" -

"Design Thinking Part 4" -

The following documents* will also prove useful:


(*Special thanks to Maggie Koops, a WSU alum, for her efforts preparing this material.)

Deconstructing the Elevator Speech - A helpful breakdown of what an elevator speech is and the elements that go into it. While teams will not be presenting research during this competition, the ability to convey an idea in a succinct manner is critical.

They Gave Him a Tent: Inside Skunk Works
In 1943, the Germans were already using jet technology in combat. The United States military leadership was frantic for a jet fighter of their own to counter the new threat. An idea for a secret organization hidden within a large aeronautics company begins to take shape and at the root of this idea is a young American engineer. For exclusive content, check out our show notes at Email us at Produced by Theresa Hoey & Claire Whitfield Artwork by Becca Smith
Wichita State University Library 
The WSU Library C-Space includes several areas that may be of use to students, including the One Button Studio which could be used to create your one-minute qualifying video. 
One Button Studio Reservation Link: 
Scoring Rubric & Final Score Calculation

Judges score teams, as the competition progresses, based on the below noted specific categories:

  1. The team’s problem understanding
  2. The team’s solution uniqueness
  3. The demonstrated value of the team’s solution
  4. The practicality of the team’s solution
  5. The team’s overall effectiveness communicating

    (*Note: Not all categories will be active in all sessions.)

Scores use the following scale:

  • 0-points means the specific category result is missing or unacceptable
  • 2-points means the specific category result is just acceptable or adequate
  • 4-points means the specific category result is very good
  • 6-points means the specific category result is truly extraordinary

Point values other than 0, 2, 4, or 6 are not allowed.

The category scores from the judges are averaged and used in the following equation to determine a team’s session score:

Session Score* = Average of Category 1 Scores + Average of Category 2 Scores + Average of Category 3 Scores + Average Category 4 Scores

(*Note: Not all categories will be active in all sessions.)

In order to provide valuable feedback, session category average scores will be shared with teams as soon as is possible.

Session scores combine to determine a team’s final competition score using the following equation:

Final Score = (0.1 * Session 1 Score) + (0.2 * Session 2 Score) + (0.7 * Session 3 Score)


Each session will progressively address different parts of a team’s efforts and results, specifically:

  • Session 1 is where the team identifies a problem as they see it and their specific focus area
  • Session 2 is where the team presents their initial idea for a solution to the problem
  • Session 3 is where the team presents their evolved and final overall result
Competition Rules

The following competition rules apply: 

  1. Contest participants must compete as a team, composed of at least three and no more than four full-time WSU students (for this competition, full-time student status means each undergraduate or graduate student is currently enrolled, respectively, in at least 12 or 6 credit hours). 
  2. Multi-disciplinary teams are encouraged but at least one member must be a current engineering major. 
  3. A maximum of twelve teams can compete. As a result, a pre-contest entry and review process will be used to invite the most promising teams to participate. 
  4. Because of the pandemic, participants will interact virtually. Zoom will be the primary communications tool. 
  5. Each team member is required to present at least once during the event. 
  6. Contest events, activities, presentations, etc. will be tightly scheduled and time-limited. Competitors must meet these limits. There will be no exceptions, unless in rare and unavoidable cases (e.g., WSU ITS services go down). 
  7. The principal competition efforts and results must be those of the student team. Outside assistance of any kind or amount must be formally and completely identified in a submitted List of References. 
  8. Proper referencing of any and all sources or assistance (e.g., periodicals, conference papers, books, web pages, conversations, emails, etc.) is required. 
  9. Failure to submit a complete List of References by the stated deadline may result in disqualification. 
  10. Be sure to monitor the competition web page and your emails for updates, changes, and other information. 
  11. It is the team’s responsibility to check the schedule and to be on time for their presentation in each session. 
  12. Teams that are late for a presentation time slot will not be given additional time, but are eligible for scoring. 
  13. Teams totally missing a presentation time slot receive a zero for that session score. 
  14. The is no automatic requirement to award a first, second, or third place winner (e.g., if there were only three competitors). Winning teams must deliver high-quality and innovative solutions with acceptable final team scores. There are no default wins. 
  15. Generalized unofficial results, if available, may be shared during the Closing Session. Final results will be posted on the web page as soon as they are made official. 
  16. All competition related aspects (e.g., rules, requirements, constraints, schedules, awards, etc.) are subject to interpretation and change at any time by the contest director (Dr. Miller, WSU Aerospace). 

To be announced

Zoom Links

To be announced

Qualification Theme - Posted 9/21/22

Qualification Theme

Counter Swarm Concepts

Autonomous unmanned air vehicle (UAV) technology has rapidly advanced. Public security and defense-related risks are substantial, especially given there will likely be more than one vehicle. Swarms of nefarious UAVs are now a major concern.

Your challenge is to, first, learn as much as you can about swarming UAV threats and existing counter technologies. Then you need to identify a new and innovative idea or concept to counter UAV swarms.

Present your innovative idea in a 1-minute qualifying video. This video will be reviewed by judges and used to invite the 12 best teams to compete in the final weekend phase of the competition, starting Oct. 21st.

Remember, this is a competition. Your qualifying idea and video need to be good. Take the time to learn all you can about design thinking, elevator pitches, and making quality videos. There are helpful links on the competition website. The efforts will serve you well in the final phase of the competition, and in your career.

Qualification Video

Your team will need to create a 1-minute video on the qualifying theme topic above. Please post this to a video sharing website and include the link in your team registration. If your video is not able to be accessed, your team registration will not be valid. Popular video sharing platforms include YouTube, Vimeo, Google Cloud, etc.

Please be aware, competition organizers may also post qualification videos on the contest website.

Videos and team registration must be entered by Friday, October 14, 2022 through the Team Registration Form.

2nd Innovation Works Competition Winners

November 12-14, 2021

First Place - Team 2 - $6,650

Sid Pathak

Theron Miller

Sofia Bahr Konkel

Second Place - Team 7 - $4,000

Konstantin Ganchev

Madeline Smith

William Johnston

Harune Suzuki

Third Place (tie) - Team 8 - $2,000

Trent Oberlander

Gabe Kimuri

Logan Mauch

Alexander DeWerff

Third Place (tie) - Team 3 - $2,000

Ramses Young

Samuel Denis

Noah Johnson

Samuel Heim

Thanks again to Lockheed Martin for their sponsorship!

Lockheed Martin Corp Skunk Works Logo Lockheed Martin Corp Logo