Wednesday 3 May, 2017

Innovative Solutions that Make a Difference

How might we, as global citizens, reimagine globalization in the 21st century? At our recent Global Leadership Summit in Peru, students from around the world joined together to explore this very question and work together to develop solutions to change the world. The two-day leadership conference, filled with thought-provoking keynote speakers, collaborative and engaging workshops, and team innovation sessions using the design thinking method, culminated in a shark-tank style series of finalist pitches.

Considered by the Summit keynote speakers — international education consultant Dr. Derrick Gay, Professor of Anthropology and the BC Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Wade Davis, three-time U.S. Olympian and EF Olympics and Brand Ambassador DeeDee Trotter, and EF Vice President of Product Innovation, Lisa Mesicek — the top 5 student teams took the stage for 60 seconds each to present their solutions. Below is a summary of each pitch.

Global Crisis App (Blue Team)
How can we better help connect students with a charity of their choice? After Summit attendee Karen witnessed the effects of Hurricane Sandy firsthand in 2012, she found it difficult to find and connect with an organization where should could roll up her sleeves and offer help. This experience sparked her team’s idea for the “Global Crisis App.” The mission is to make a safe and collaborative space to connect organizations with students on both a local and global level. Designed to allow students to participate in a variety of issues, it would first help them narrow down the local or global cause best aligned with their interest, and then provide actionable steps for the best ways to get involved on every level.

Shop Smart (Yellow Team)
How do your shopping choices impact other the world? While it is important to be cognizant of the impact of your decisions, information to help a consumer make educated choices is not always easily accessible. Sometimes, making an informed decision may take hours or even days of research—time that most just don’t have. How can we help close this knowledge gap? For the yellow team, the solution is an app titled “Shop Smart” — a platform housing all the information necessary to quickly and easily make an informed and responsible decision. Users would quickly sort and search by a company or a product. Once found, users would be presented with an overall ‘responsibility’ rating of the company and/or product based on fair working conditions, wages, environmental impact, sustainability, and other variables. If the ratings were poor, the app would populate similar products options with better ratings, helping consumers make informed decisions while simultaneously encouraging companies to do better.

Smart Shelter (Red Team)

How can we help families all over the world better prepare for natural disasters? The red team spent their innovation session brainstorming a potential solution and came up with the “Smart Shelter.” This double-sphere shelter was designed with enough food for a family of four for a month, water and air filtration systems, a motion stabilizer, a radio system and an exit hatch. The structure takes all basic needs and first responder necessities into account to present an equal solution to all communities hit with natural disasters, regardless of disaster type or global location.

EF Awareness (Purple Team)

EF Awareness is designed to provide cultural information and highlights within your tour country, in real time. Upon login, a user sees the notification page which gives general information and updates on the selected country of travel. Next is the proposed “Need to Know” page which provides information on the traveler’s specific tour itinerary and recommendations for how to best prepare for any potential challenges. To ensure that all information has been fully absorbed, the app is designed to then drive the user to a quick quiz, the results of which are then forwarded to the Group Leader. Ultimately, the goal of the EF Awareness app is to help students on every tour prepare for the cultural and global differences, regardless of the place of travel.

Winning Team: The Beachcomber (Green Team)

What do you think of when you go to the beach? Swimming? Surfing? The Boardwalk? But what about the ecosystem and the animals that live there? Did you know there are currently 5.2 trillion pieces of trash in our oceans, and that a large percentage of this trash is from beach goers? Concerned about this status, our innovation pitch winners — the green team — decided to work on a product that would do something about it: The Beachcomber.

A device fully powered by solar energy equipped with heat detection and anti-light pollution panels, the beachcomber is designed to never interfere with animal life but to work over-night collecting the hundreds of thousands of pieces of trash left on our beaches every day. In the words of the green team, “Over 70% of the world’s population lives near water, let’s help keep the beach clean for all.”

Interested in seeing these pitches for yourself? We went Live on Facebook during the event! Click here to check it out.