MTV and Cisco Really Want to be Hip with the Kids

MTV and Cisco are doing a "Digital Incubators" program, a joint venture between mtvU and Cisco that offers $30,000 in seed money to college kids who come up with buzz-worthy convergence-stuffed project to connect with the kids. There's even an extra opportunity for another $100,000 in funding if they come up with something better than a cellphone game about bongs, which comprised about half the entries.

Check out this years top entries after the jump, and feel free to dissect them and come up with your own, better ideas in comments.

Casablanca - New York University: A hybrid social networking and mobile/alternative reality game that pits teams of players against each other as members of either "the Occupation" or "the Resistance." The game plays out online and via text messages; is one part espionage, one part team-builder; and rewards players for building or infiltrating real-world and virtual communities.

Selectricity - M.I.T.: An online voting technology that focuses on preferential decision-making— shifting away from a winner-take-all paradigm to a more democratic standard. Using a drag-and-drop mechanism, voters rank "candidates" in order of preference and the Selectricity application generates a winner that is most acceptable to the group as a whole.

Osiris - Brown University: A first-of-its-kind iTunes visualizer that uses song lyrics to automatically generate music videos using images pulled from Flickr and pictures on the user's hard drive.

RapHappy - New York University: An online hip-hop destination where users can record, collaborate on, search and listen to freestyle or written raps. The site will encourage user interaction and collaboration, enabling users to form groups, start battles or rate/comment on the sites' submissions.

How Do I Say This? - UCLA: One of the greenlighted Digital Incubator programs from last year, the 2006 SXSW Web Award-winner will return bigger than ever in its second season. "How Do I Say This?" is an interactive, Web-based advice wiki, where users help script and create video messages for people with problems that have left them at a loss for words.


I get it. You're MTV and you want to come up with ideas to connect with the young people, but you're staffed by old people who try too hard to be hip (nice Good Charlotte shirt, pops), what do you do? Easy, you just get the young people to give you ideas without actually hiring them. Do it under the guise of a contest and everybody comes out on top, right?
–Adam Frucci