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2010 SUMMARY Set your sights at a pretty tough target and don’t be worried if you are not successful at first. Just keep persisting and keep improving your standards, getting better and better and ultimately you have got a pretty fair chance of achieving your goal. Sir Edmund Hillary

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Innovation is observation

More than 130 on-line registrations indicated a high level of interest for the Inaugural Young Innovator Awards. Congratulations must go to the 56 students from eight Western Bay of Plenty secondary schools who set themselves a goal, followed through and submitted an entry within a given deadline. This demonstrated excellent time management, an important skill for employers to have in the workplace. Thanks must also go to the teachers for helping to promote this competition in their respective schools.

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The Judging Process There were four judges for five categories:

research communication creativity sustainability innovation The judging was conducted over two days when judges viewed the A1 board submissions. A few students also took up the option to submit a five page booklet to support their board. The judging involved lengthy discussions as category winners were identified and from these the supreme winners for both junior and senior categories were decided. During these lengthy discussions judges went through the process of weighing up the merits of each entry against the others. The final decisions were collective ones made by all four judges. The judges were not privy to student or school names throughout the judging process.

SUMMARY >> Research was strong and well done >> Sustainability was quite light and needs to be highlighted in the workshop in 2011 >> Winners had complete entries with a strong follow through with students trying to validate their ideas >> Students who took the time produced great entries

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General Comments The lack of basic research…a few minutes on Google would have given a good indication whether an idea already existed or was actually unique. In some cases sweeping generalisations were made without anything to back them up. The winners showed extensive research and prototyping and documented it well. There were some great ideas that didn’t get the top prizes because they needed a lot more work. It’s a given that this would often have been beyond the reach of the student’s resources. Where the ideas were really good they were recognised, but one of the aims of the competition was to encourage good follow through. In some cases the ideas looked good but the judges had trouble understanding what the student actually meant. A little guidance for the student on their presentation would have helped. The best looking presentations were easier to read but content was important. One of the category winners had completely hand-written and drawn their board. It wasn’t the tidiest but the ideas were sound and well depicted. Not all winners succeeded in their objectives. One entry was recognised for doing great research that proved their idea wouldn’t work. The winners were complete packages. The students identified a need, came up with an idea, prototyped it, improved it, built it (or explained fully how the final product would look). The students did an excellent job of communicating what they’d done so we could easily understand the whole process. They ticked all the boxes. It is important that students understand that innovation is not necessarily about creating something new, it’s often looking at something that can be improved to become more efficient.

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SENIOR OVERALL WINNER

Jonathan Kent Photo courtesy of The Weekend Sun

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Automatic Screen Cleaner Clearly stated problem Successful solution Thorough research This was a complete project. Jonathan recognised that cleaning the screens on the intake for the small hydro-electric station at a remote camp was a serious imposition for the caretaker, particularly in bad weather. While large commercial power projects undoubtedly have their own solutions they’re unlikely to be applicable to such a small scheme. Jonathan’s solution was a significant engineering project that was developed over a long period and required extensive resources, but this was not the reason it won the category and the award. What impressed was how he identified a unique problem, thought of a solution, designed it, built and tested prototypes, improved them and produced a fully functional result. In addition he put a lot of effort into communicating the process so the judges could easily understand what had been done. In other words, he followed the innovation process right through.

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JUNIOR OVERALL WINNER

Savana Woodcock Photo courtesy of The Weekend Sun

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Handy Hay Bay Well researched Made a prototype Very well rounded project We could see this selling This idea began to stand out early in the judging process. When bulk hay is fed to animals much of it ends up being spread all over the area and stamped into the mud. The student defined the problem and devised the Hay Bag as a dispenser to regulate the amount an animal could take with each bite, to protect uneaten hay and to keep it clean and dry. The student worked through the innovation process by designing, building and testing a prototype which proved the concept. The shortcomings it exposed were clearly defined and the refinements needed to overcome these were clearly explained. It is expected that the final product would find a ready market on life-style blocks where animal numbers are limited and resources precious. The student presented a well conceived, well researched and well developed idea. The A1 presentation board was attractively laid out and communicated the idea clearly to the judges. It also spelled out refinements that would be made to ready the product for the end user. All judges commented that they could see a market for the final product.

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PEDAL POWERED COMPUTER?

Senior Energy Producing Power Poles >> Concept very, very good - but would it work?? >> Solves environmental issues >> Solves visual problems >> Completely sustainable This was an innovative idea that maximized the current infrastructure already in place for energy distribution. There is a lot of discussion around the visual impact of large wind farms which this idea targets directly by the smaller scale blades. The other general issue with energy generation is the cost of energy to distribute it, so again this concept helps to resolve that issue with generation and distribution being one in the same. The ability for the smaller blades to produce a substantial amount of energy to warrant their production is questionable. However there is already a power generation company in the states utilising this technology. http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080603/ NEWS/806030341 This example proves that the idea does work and has merit; it’s just not an original idea!

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SUSTAINABILITY /  ecognition of the social, cultural R and environmental impacts that the product or service will have.

Junior Drive Safe >> Ticks a lot of sustainable boxes >> Reduce cost, emissions and accidents >> Ticks financial and social boxes >> Achievable! >> Can flow on to other behavioral actions This is a great concept because it looks at social, environmental and financial sustainability – which is what was originally encouraged for the entries. Speeding is an inefficient use of fuel (costing money), poses high risk to people and costs the environment with added PM (Particulate Matter) from tyre residues and inefficient fuel combustion etc. So, having a system like this, although it’s quite close to social engineering by taking away people’s choice, could support long term behavioral change, saving lives, reducing financial cost and various types of environmental damage. Cost to set up and then introduce all over NZ would be a hindrance, as well as the likely public outcry at having something like this in place would probably ensure it stayed as a good idea!

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PARACHUTE TESTER?

Senior Automatic Screen Cleaner This was a very well thought through project with a great result; a result that the judges felt was of an extremely high standard for a student. This entry captured the attention of the judges almost immediately for two main reasons:

>> The fact that it was so complete and the student had built and tested the design (a very big achievement) >> Student had presented their research and development very clearly in an interesting and novel way on their panel The student understood the context and the problem and or need for a new solution in detail, sighting key requirements and issues upfront in their research and design brief. This student then went about responding to these aspects, conducting research to understand all the main requirements and required functionality, as well as key user requirements and materials and processes that were ‘fit for purpose’ for the proposed design and application. The participant also looked to engage key people at key stages in the project which has come through in the finished design. The fact that the design required a large degree of engineering and mechanical design elements, the judges really needed to see that the solution would work. Realising this, the student developed a working prototype which was tested and installed and this was clearly communicated within the student’s submission.

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RESEARCH /  roper research provides compelling P evidence of the need for the product or service.

Junior Aero Bubble >> Myth busted >> Failed to solve but a good process used >> This is a key part of the process The Aero Bubble was a very interesting project responding to a novel idea of replacing a common ingredient in soft drinks for one which, on initial assessment, appeared to offer some advantages from an environmental perspective. The two students presented the problem very clearly upfront, which allowed the judges to quickly understand the nature of this particular project. Some market related information and statistics was provided to illustrate the size and market opportunity, and the technical aspects of introducing carbon dioxide into liquids to carbonate water were provided. The students then went about telling the judges their story of development seeking to determine whether carbon dioxide could be replaced, and how it could be successfully done so in volume (scale). The judges were impressed by the lengths taken to ultimately determine that the proposed design or strategy wouldn’t in fact work. While the result was proven to be inadequate, the judges felt that this was a real ‘myth buster’ type project with a sound developmental process and methodology.

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HANDS FREE KIT?

Senior A Kiss Goodbye - Music Group >> Enjoyed reading the submission >> Busy but fun >> Bite size and informative >> Good use of colour The presentation of ‘A Kiss Goodbye’ was of an extremely high standard. While the entry idea may not have aligned completely with the goals and criteria of this year’s YIA competition, the judges were very impressed with how the applicants had put themselves forward and presented their submission and their story. The applicants combined a good use of media, colour, and creativity to communicate their idea and story to the Judges. The panel was divided into a simple grid structure with their idea, in this case their album EP, mounted in the centre. As a result, the judges immediately understood the nature and context of this submission: Music and the group’s first album. Additional information presented around the album drew the judges in and took them on a journey, introducing how the idea for the group and album came about, the adventures the group had been on up until this point, and their goals for the future.

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COMMUNICATION / Ability to communicate clearly through the use of the design process and your ability to problem solve.

Junior Handy Hay Bag >> Understood problem >> Communicated solution well >> Good section on information about the product The Handy Hay Bag submission was very clear and informative and the presentation of the project information had been well thought through. At first glance, the sketches of the product idea and developmental imagery helped position the idea for the judges, and they could see and understand the proposed application. The applicant also provided a clear and well researched brief for the project, which included definitions of the major issues and problems that this product overcomes, like animal behavior when feeding. This went some way towards informing the judges that this was an idea with a real purpose, function and agricultural need. Interesting insights into the process by which the applicant had gone through to develop the idea were provided in written text and graphic information on the panel. This included prototyping and testing related information. To finish, the applicant gave the idea a great name and brand. All of the judges thought this was a well communicated idea - to the point where many understood the idea so well they said it was something they could see in stores tomorrow.

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BACKSCRATCHER?

Senior Blue Tone Beep Set >> A known problem and a clever idea This appears to be a novel approach to solving a known problem, that of longdistance drivers falling asleep at the wheel. Most solutions to date have been vehicle-specific. The students had the vision to see that a portable device would be a lot more practical, particularly if it could be incorporated into a commonly used accessory. According to their research it is usual for a driver’s head to drop when they nod off and their idea utilises this to cause a Blue -Tooth headset to trigger an alarm tone and alert the driver. Next steps would be to incorporate a sensor into an earpiece and to carry out extensive testing, probably using a driving simulator. If this proved the idea would work, it would be important to filter out normal head movements and prevent annoying false alarms. It was recognised that these steps were beyond the resources and time available to the students. However the principle appears sound and it would be worth consulting a patent attorney before going too much further.

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INNOVATION / I nnovation is the creation of something new that provides a solution or purpose.

Junior Handy Hay Bag >> Well researched >> Made a prototype >> Very well rounded project >> We could see this selling This idea began to stand out early in the judging process. When bulk hay is fed to animals much of it ends up being spread all over the area and stamped into the mud. Savana defined the problem and devised the Hay Bag as a dispenser to regulate the amount an animal could take with each bite, to protect uneaten hay and to keep it clean and dry. This student worked through the innovation process by designing, building and testing a prototype which proved the concept. The shortcomings it exposed were clearly defined and the refinements needed to overcome these were clearly explained. It is expected that the final product would find a ready market on life-style blocks where animal numbers are limited and resources precious.

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WOODEN SURFBOARD?

Senior G-sham Axe >> Interesting idea >> Product has use >> Some fine tuning could turn be turned into a real product >> Showed creative instruction and great sketching skills >> Looked like a real creative submission This submission showed good hand drawn skills. It was very conceptual which allowed for various positive interpretations for use. With some fine tuning (and industry advice) this could turn into a real product. The student could have refined the target audience (e.g. arborist verses casual camper) and refined the product based on their specific needs.

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CREATIVITY /  reativity is originality of thought, C insight or perspective.

Junior Radio Control Top Dressing Aeroplane >> Creative idea for an issue and use of remote control >> Plane looks as though it could simply and creatively solve the problem This was a creative idea for a problem with minimal manpower needed. The plane looked as though it could simply and creatively solve the problem. It showed forward thinking. It may not be possible now but who knows in the future. It showed imagination as the blending of the remote control with top dressing is quite an intuitive combination.

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Thanks to all the people who contributed their time and effort towards making this competition successful. Special thanks to Woods Creative for putting together this summary document. For more information about this or future YIA events, contact Lyn Parlane via email. lyn@priorityone.co.nz

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