April 3, 2017, by Elizabeth Smith
Engineers in Business: Meet the Winners
”There’s nothing I believe in more strongly than getting young people interested in science and engineering, for a better tomorrow, for all humankind.” – Bill Nye, CEO of The Planetary Society
Three undergraduate teams (each comprising engineering students) at Nottingham University Business School (NUBS) have won an Engineers in Business Award for developing innovative product concepts aimed at solving a series of social problems. The winning teams share a £3,000 a prize pot, plus mentoring by Sainsbury Management Fellows for the first-prize winner, Water Porter Team.
Sponsored by Engineers in Business Fellowship (which awards the Sainsbury Management Fellows MBA scholarship to young engineers), the competition was run in conjunction with NUBS’ Entrepreneurship & Business module. Chris Mahon, Director of MSc Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Management at NUBS said:
“The E&B module and the Engineers in Business competition take students through the ‘Ingenuity Process’ – from identifying a problem that needs a novel solution and Brainstorming ideas, to selecting a viable concept, research, intellectual property considerations, product development and marketing processes. This methodology develops entrepreneurial thinking.” – Chris Mahon, Director of MSc Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Management
First Prize: Water Porter
Freeing people in developing countries from hours of arduous water collection
The Water Porter is a new multi-purpose barrel that would, as its primary function, transport large quantities of water more efficiently than current methods.
Speaking on behalf of the Water Porter team Fatin Zabidi Azhar said, “The barrel would be a sustainable product that could have a life-changing impact in developing countries. The product would be made from strong plastic so that it can sustain rough terrains, and the plastic could be recycled when ‘wear and tear’ occurs from long-term use.”
The Water Porter team won £1,500 prize money and each person will be assigned a career mentor from Engineers in Business Fellowship.
Second Prize: SpeakEasy
Improving communication between the deaf and hearing
The SpeakEasy team set out to create an affordable tablet that translates text into speech and vice versa, to enhance communication between deaf and hearing people. The SpeakEasy team won £1,000.
When asked about the competition and The Ingenuity Process, Freddy Heppell from the SpeakEasy team said, “We learned a range of new skills, in particular the experience taught us the importance of working as a cohesive team in order to develop an idea, as well as communication skills to present our concept with conviction.”
Third Prize: Sol-Ice
Top secret idea could keep street food cool
The Sol-Ice team has come up with a sustainable solution to the ‘overheated’ food and drink problem, one that they believe also has the potential to create local jobs and improve people’s quality of life. Sol-Ice won £500.
Team member, Philip Cohen said, “We’re very excited by the potential of our innovation, it could make a big difference to people in Africa. This means that the concept is under wraps for now. Our team found the E&B experience extremely useful – The Ingenuity Process provides a guide to clear thinking. We learned that in order to have good ideas, you must generate a huge amount and then sift down to the best. Rather than a ‘light bulb moment’ or an innate skill, creativity is a long, thought out process that anyone can learn.”
David Falzani, Engineers in Business President and Honorary Professor in Sustainable Wealth Creation at NUBS said: “It’s exciting to see the winning teams aiming to solve social problems at home and abroad. Some of the most important global challenges we face today are not just technical ones, but require the ability to link technologies to an understanding of the market mechanism, business skills and entrepreneurial commercial thinking. These challenges include delivering and growing secure and affordable supplies of clean water and of energy, to meet the needs and expectations of a fast-growing global population. The competition inspires students to think about big issues and to create potential solutions.”
Engineers in Business Fellowship is currently accepting invitations from other universities to run the Engineers in Business Competition. For more information contact the SMF Office.