Firenze is a student competition that has been running for a few years that brings a philosophy known as BXT to life. BXT = Business, user eXperience and Technology. By bringing together these three disciplines it's likely that you'll end up with a more balanced product -- one that isn't all tech, isn't all design and exists with a business model. That's the idea and Firenze seeks to bring this to life with some real world Microsoft projects.
In its 5th year and 6th iteration -- Firenze|BXT is unique in student competitions that have a mandatory requirement of student teams to be cross pollinated each from the business school, design/art school and engineering/science schools with multi-disciplinary deliverables.
For 2011 participating universities are Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University, New York University, University of Michigan and Ohio State University. Round 1 started back in Nov'10 and in late Nov. thru early Dec'10 innovation workshops took place on each campus.
Last week, the prelim rounds ended and students sent their submissions in. This week, the finalists are announced and on Jan'24th & 25th the university finals conducted through LiveMeeting. That takes us through to Jan'28th when the university winners are announced. Then it's on to the final weekend here in Redmond on Feb'5th & 6th where a large group of Microsoft volunteers get involved in helping coach the teams and offering input. The overall winning team will be eligible for a prize award of US$20,000.