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Curiosity and eagerness filled the Engineering Auditorium as students from various faculties gathered on the evening of 25 August to attend the Competition Briefing for this year’s InnoVenture. As the students entered the auditorium and awaited the commencement of the briefing, their conversations were focused on dissecting and exchanging opinions on the tagline Design / Create / Disrupt.

The briefing began with the introduction of InnoVenture. InnoVenture is the annual Technopreneurship competition of the Faculty of Engineering which serves as a platform to encourage students to experiment with ideas, adopt a risk-taking culture, and gain experience in solving real-world issues.

Next, Ernest Tan and Li Zi Yun, members of the winning team for InnoVenture 2014’s BP problem statement, took the stage and imparted some words of wisdom to the potential participants. Refreshing repartees such as “we’re expected to create miracles with very little money” and “thinking out of the box requires a lack of common sense” elicited laughter, breaking the focus-induced silence of the audience.

Ask any participant at the Competition Briefing why they are interested in InnoVenture and you will receive paraphrased responses of “to gain skills and experience.”

“I want to enhance my University experience and be involved in something beyond my course” said Graduate student, Ludovic Ho Fuh.

Despite having concerns over the impending workload and time management, students were still keen on participating in InnoVenture. And oh, how their motivations are justified! Through the three boot camps that they will engage in, participants are likely to acquire a vast reservoir of valuable skills which include business, tech and even prototyping skills such as utilizing 3D printing, fast prototyping methods, Arduino systems, and computer aided design.
As the briefing came to a close, the problem statements for InnoVenture 2015 were introduced, and they certainly meet the expectations of being stimulating yet undoubtedly challenging:

Improvements for the Medical Field

DHL and Tan Tock Seng Hospital have provided fascinating challenges that hope to better the medical field. While DHL’s problem statement focuses on constructing a simple yet comprehensive stock monitoring system for medical products, Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s aims to develop a low cost solution that can remind and persuade healthcare workers to sanitize their hands.

Sustainability Innovations

With the increasing significance of sustainability, MediaTek Inc. and NUS Office of Facilities Management (OFM) have exciting challenges that promote just that. MediaTek Inc. offers participants the opportunity to design an affordable building automation system that is able to manage and reduce resource usage, or even create renewable resources, in a building. On the other hand, NUS OFM is hoping to uncover ideas to create a “smart” campus. Participants are asked to build a network prototype linking all buildings on campus to a central system that allows for the monitoring of building performance as well as the carrying out of predictive maintenance.

Reducing Water Loss

PUB offers perhaps the most compelling challenge yet: reduce the water evaporation loss from cooling towers to preserve the water resilience of Singapore. Participants are encouraged to explore ideas to prevent further water loss and/or recover the water evaporated, by retrofitting or modifying the current cooling towers or seeking alternative cooling technologies that do not require the use of freshwater. A successful solution to this challenge could lead to growth opportunities overseas where other countries experience the same problem.

“All five challenges push you to be innovative, a priceless characteristic that cannot be learned in the classroom, and that is what I find appealing about InnoVenture” expressed a Tembusu College student.

Hopefully with the advice from their mentors as well as their abilities to adapt and learn along the way, participants of InnoVenture 2015 will show that they have what it takes to solve these long-standing challenges, and consequently, contribute to the advancement of these dynamic industries.
InnoVenture is a student co-ordinated initiative supported by the Enterprise Development Lab, Institute for Engineering Leadership. For more information on InnoVenture go to http://innoventure.com.sg/

by Ellora Chua, Student Reporter