The first day kicked off with an informative presentation by Fabian Goebel, Head of Business Development at SCOOTA – a sustainable business practice that aims to take the Thailand transport industry by storm, one scooter at a time.
The presentation gave students perspective on the kinds of challenges that an environmentally conscious organisation can face when setting up a business. It also prompted them to start thinking their own business ideas ideas to tackle climate change, and which they would ultimately present to their peers at the end of 2-day conference.
Working in teams, the first step for students was to generate and develop ideas or concepts that may work in practice to solving an identified problem. This process is called ‘ideation’ which includes brainstorming, sketching, prototyping, and discovering what the problem is so that a solution can be found. The Year 12’s were amiably helped by Shrewsbury Alumni, Pinn and Tata (Class of 2013) who have experience in design, marketing and business development both from their degrees at respected American tertiary institutions, Smith College and USC, and in the professional life beyond.
A second speaker was invited for day two, Charle Charoenphan, the CEO and co-founder at HUBBA – The first co-working space and entrepreneurial growth platform in Thailand. He spoke to the Year 12 ‘hackers’ about the importance of innovation in technology and encouraged them to think big when coming up with new ideas.
Students then refocused their energies on perfecting their ideas and working on their pitch, again asssisted by Shrewsbury Alumni. The advice given by Pinn and Tata was invaluable as it helped focus the product and eliminated unnecessary information that may confuse or dissuade the judges.
The afternoon brought about the ‘big reveal’ where the groups were asked to pitch their product and demonstrate how the climate change problem had been factored into their concept and design. Many different ideas were proffered including a plastic alternative made from algae, a delivery drone and water-saving measure.
However, as judge and Regional CEO of facilities management company PCS Heather Suksem OBE said, “One product stood head and shoulders above the rest”.
Bhu, Fin, Teddy, Dow, Pim, Q, Rose, Miu Miu, Mo, Pin, FayFay and Tuang formulated a company ‘Poly Poly Eco’ that would repurpose recycled plastic waste into household furniture and other everyday items. They also proposed a method for waste plastic producers to track how much they were recycling as an incentive to continue to protect our environment. Out of all the pitches, Poly Poly Eco’s business plan was considered to be the most robust and had the best chance to be most impactful and successful in the current climate.
To cap off the two days, a Sixth Form ‘BBQ and Bands’ was held to let the students unwind and debrief on the whole experience. The event was a great taster session to what they can expect in higher education and beyond when working as a collective and cracking big problems will be a regular occurrence.
A huge thank you should go to Mr Greg Threlfall, Deputy Head of Sixth Form, who organised the event and continues to prepare students for life beyond school with innovative challenges such as this.