Ideas arrive at the IdeaFactory through two primary conduits. They are shaped through discussions with students, staff and/or faculty on an ad hoc basis (usually over coffee!), or they are entered in an IdeaFactory competition. One competition is typically run every semester. Each competition has a theme, although any idea submitted qualifies. Finalists are chosen to present their ideas in an informal setting to a panel at the end of the term. Qualifying winners meet with mentors in subsequent semester(s) to advance the idea to a prototype.