Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Innovating Together

By Nick Bygrave (OH)

I'm writing this on the tour bus leaving the San Jose conference center where the EF Global Student Leaders Summit took place. My group is quite tired from the countless activities at the conference, but everyone is still wide eyed and excited to depart on our upcoming tour of Costa Rica. Before starting the next part of the journey, I am using this bus ride as a time to reflect upon the incredible weekend I just experienced.

We started Saturday morning with the highly anticipated visit of Dr. Jane Goodall. Granville High School's very own student, Ryan Redding gave a great speech introducing Dr. Jane Goodall. Next, Dr. Goodall calmly, and in a hushed voice, described her career path and the struggles she faced dealing with chimpanzees. With various stories and anecdotes, she took us through a wonderful journey of challenges, discovery, and great spiritual enlightenment.

Later in the day I was lucky enough to interview Dr. Goodall during the press conference. I can comfortably report that she is as insightful one-on-one as she is to a crowd of hundreds. To read more about Saturday's activities and Dr. Jane Goodall, check out the previous post by fellow EF student journalist, Eliza Klein.

The majority of Saturday and Sunday were devoted to the design thinking sessions. My group consisted of intelligent, creative and diverse members. Each person truly brought something interesting to the table. Shortly after introducing ourselves, we were told to create an original and innovative solution to an environmental problem. One of our group members told a story of her friend Kristina who lived on the New Jersey shore where Hurricane Sandy hit. Kristina described how there was a long period of time where garbage and debris from the storm were scattered on the beach. This, in turn, harmed wildlife as well as the environment. After hearing more about this environmental issue, my team and I decided that this story would be our project's focus.


Photo Credit: Adeline Yeo

After going through a number of ideation exercises we reached the conclusion that we would make a prototype of a trash removal truck. This truck would be solar powered, making it completely ozone-friendly. The truck would also efficiently retrieve debris by scooping it up with a simple but effective rotating scooper. Sensors would warn the driver of animals and other objects that were not trash.

Next, the team began the prototype phase. Within a matter of minutes, what started as a group of kids throwing out ideas turned into a fast-paced, synchronized dance of grabbing, gluing and cutting of office supplies and recycled bottles. We worked efficiently, and the group's overall harmony became clear. In less than an hour, we had converted a detergent bottle, some bottle caps and pipe wires into a pretty convincing miniature natural-disaster clean-up truck. This, along with the posters we had worked on the previous days, was starting to look like a rather professional proposition. Once the final touches complete, we wrote our pitches and read them over and over until we could recite them with ease.

Finally, the Innovation Village was upon us. Over 500 attendees all crowded into the lobby of the conference center to learn about the fifty projects that were created. Presentation time came and went quickly. As I began to walk around the village, I also started to realize how good every other project was as well. Some groups took on small projects, such as cleaning up after a concert, while others challenged big issues like air pollution in a major city. Although some were better practiced and more convincing than others, every single group brought forward an original and largely feasible solution to some relevant modern problems. As loud and hectic as the room became, you could still see people leaning in to hear what the presenters had to say about their projects. We went from drawing pictures on a poster one day, to reciting a detailed and advanced presentation of a possible natural disaster clean-up solution the next. I was by all means amazed at how quickly we were able to go from ideating to making a prototype.


Photo credit: EFTours/Instagram

The closing ceremony was an exciting yet sad forty minutes. It consisted of a couple short goodbyes followed by a number of longer ones with new friends from my team. Although the conference is behind me, the enthusiasm of the students is something that has stayed with me. I am privileged for not only meeting the incredible Dr. Jane Goodall, amongst many other influential adults, but I am also lucky to have met some truly incredible young minds. I have never been so happy to be truly out-brained. Looking back on the weekend, this was one of the most uplifting and optimistic experiences of my life.

About the Global Student Leaders Summit Series

This post is part of a series produced by EF Educational Tours, in recognition of the EF Global Student Leaders Summit.

Throughout the next two weeks, you will hear from EF Student Journalism Interns detailing their experiences before, during and after the 2015 Costa Rica Summit. The internship offers a way for students traveling to Costa Rica to become even more engaged with their journey and gain real-time, deadline driven writing experience. During the Summit these students will be covering stories as they unfold and sharing their experiences through their writing!

For more information on EF Educational Tours click here.

from The Huffington Post | The Full Feed http://ift.tt/1CvfcIn


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