Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize: How to write a good application

  • Hannah Picton

    Hannah Picton

    Assistant Programme Manager

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  • Maddy Kavanagh

    Maddy Kavanagh

    Programme Manager, Longitude Explorer Prize

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We know applications are hard – no matter how many you may have written one, it can still be difficult to explain your ideas to other people.

But we’ve seen quite a few submissions now, so we wanted to share some of our learnings and tips on what we think can make a really good application!

We know that starting to fill in an application form is scary, but don’t worry. Once you have the beginning of an idea, we recommend just getting started, as the form is laid out in a way that helps you think through your idea. So start by writing down whatever your first thoughts are, then come back to review it after. Don’t worry about it being perfect first time round!

And when we say users, we mean people! It’s likely that you will want your idea to help people in some way, so you’ll want to know as much about them as possible. Good design is all about understanding people’s needs so that you end up with a final product or solution that they will actually use – and a great application.

It’s okay if you have a similar idea as something that already exists, but make sure you can explain how yours is different in some way – why should people choose yours over the others out there already? A good way to check if your idea is new or different is searching for your idea on the internet to see if it gets any hits.

We want to know about the type of technology your idea uses and how you think it could work. You don’t need to know all the details at this point, but the more you can describe how it works the easier it will be for others to understand your idea.

Almost all ideas will involve people in some way and so it’s really important to think about unintended consequences. Consider if there might be any ethical or security issues with your idea. For example, think about what information you are collecting and ask yourself how would I feel about that? Our ethics and security worksheet can help you figure this out.

When we read your application all we will have is your answers, so try to explain your idea simply, but fully. Explain to us how your idea will practically work and what it will look like. Help us to visualise your idea in our minds by providing as much detail as you can!

We want to hear about your idea, but remember that teamwork is a big part of the Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize. Don’t forget to tell us about how you came up with the idea, and how you worked together to complete your application. 

Some practical tips for the road...

  • Use the resources on the website – the are free and designed to help you come up with an idea e.g. worksheets 
  • Download the word doc version and share it with your team so you can all start to work on your answers 
  • Assign sections to different team members and put this in the teamwork section of your application 
  • Research your idea early on – as simple as googling it will help you find out if others have also come up with it
  • And remember each section of the form has tips and guidance to help you so make sure to read these!

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