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From left to right: Wei Xinyue, Wang Yanan, Wu Shangrong and Xu Zihao


By Ellora Chua, Student Reporter

Let the bootcamps begin!

The early morning of September 5 did not hamper the excitement of participants as they slowly, but surely, strode into the Engineering Auditorium for their first bootcamp of InnoVenture 2015. Carrying their breakfast with them, participants sat with their team members and chattered excitedly.

Throughout the bootcamp, concepts such as Minimum Viable Product and applying the Successful Product Framework were introduced to the students through a lecture-style delivery by Randall Sie and Vinod Vasnani. However, the highlights of the Business Development Bootcamp I for most participants were the Question and Answer session with the Problem Statement Experts and the Mentor Breakout Session.

“Interacting with the experts and mentors gave us a real hands-on feel of the problem and it made us feel like we were actually doing something important” says Accountancy student Xu Zihao, whose participation in InnoVenture 2015 was fuelled by the desire for a wider educational scope.

His teammates Wang Yanan and Wei Xinyue had a different opinion. “We really value the marketing skills that we’ve been taught, especially the skills required in selling a product and understanding the customer’s desires.”

Xu’s team decided to tackle the PUB problem statement. They regarded it as a highly meaningful dilemma which also gave them the opportunity to learn about the unfamiliar concept of cooling systems. After meeting and discussing with their mentor, Xu and his team acknowledged that their solution was rudimentary and required a lot of improvement in terms of feasibility. But they were not the only ones facing feasibility concerns.

“The participants are very strong in their thought processes. They have good ideas and solutions, but their lack of experience in ensuring feasibility and practicality is the biggest obstacle they will have to surmount” comments Rajesh Acharya, principal consultant of HQ Connections and also one of the mentors present at the bootcamp.

Mentor Joe Tusin, CEO of Chynge, concurred with Acharya’s sentiments stating that the highlight of the day was the level of creativity in the solutions that participants had developed.

“It is evident that the students are very smart and are excited to be here. You can see that they exude high levels of commitment,” says Tusin.

“I find it interesting that they have put in a lot of thought to not come up with common solutions, but they’re a little rough around the edges.” Nevertheless, he believes that participants’ innocence can be an advantage in coming up with novel, avant-garde solutions that could contribute positively to the various industries.

While Rajesh Acharya’s advice to participants is to focus more on the financial side of matters, Joe Tusin believes that participants should shift their focus to knowing a little more about the customers and understanding their needs.

Well, fortunately for participants, that was exactly the purpose of the day’s bootcamp!

“It doesn’t feel like just another lecture. We got to interact with the customers and ask our burning questions which really helped with understanding the scope of the problem” Gao Yu expresses.

Gao Yu and her teammates signed up as individuals and though initially felt disorientated, they quickly learned of each other’s strengths to better the group’s dynamic.

“I think we’re doing well so far. The consultation with MediaTek was fast paced, but it gave us a direction and we’re working towards steering our solution in that direction.” says Chitralekha Gupta, one of Gao Yu’s teammates.

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From left to right: Sankalp Srivastava, Chitralekha Gupta, Ludovic Ho Fuh, and Gao Yu

“The idea of having to innovate makes me feel like I’m doing something with my life, and I’m very excited for what’s to come” she quips.

Well, be excited and buckle up, participants. There is so much in store in the forthcoming journey ahead of you!