IDF 2008: Intel launches innovation challenge

Intel kicked off its Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco with a call to action for developers everywhere.

The chip giant's chairman Craig Barrett launched the Inspire/Empower challenge, which is offering four prizes of $100,000 to innovation gems benefiting economic development, education, the environment and healthcare, during his opening keynote speech at the convention this morning.

After laying down the foundational message that education is the key to continued innovation, Barrett both celebrated and demanded more out of the bright brains of the developer community, urging them to get out there and do their thing.

"[There is] tremendous innovation in the industry. Not just from companies like Intel, but all of you bringing great, unimaginable products to the market," he said. "[It's] stimulating everything: How we work, how we learn and how we play."

"We want to innovate, we want to inspire, we want to empower. [The aim is the creation of] sustainable ideas, but ideas using technology to really help people move forward."

In another nod to his jet-setting role as ambassador for he chip giant, Barrett used hotel room pillow-placed chocolates and thoughts of the day to get his message across. "The thought for the day was very simple: A small deed done is better than a great deed planned. We, collectively, have the opportunity to do a bunch of great small deeds," he said.

As an example of the power of innovation, Barrett was briefly joined on stage by Johnny Lee, who demonstrated how to easily and cost-effectively turn a projection screen or LCD display into an interactive whiteboard using a Nintendo Wii remote control.

Lee, whose whiteboard software code has now been downloaded by more than 600,000 people hungry for his idea, said: "I saw a simple opportunity to demonstrate to lots of people a very simple application that they could do themselves. Sharing is almost as important as doing it."

Looking back on how technology has evolved so rapidly and continues to revolutionise how we live our lives professionally and personally, he suggested that some of the company's previous predictions around internet usage although likely to be conservative by today's standards were perhaps regarded as a little out there by others. "Everyone thought that we were kind of smoking dope when we had that vision!" he quipped.

Winners of the Inspire/Empower challenge will be announced at the next IDF in spring 2009.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.