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$32,000 in prizes for innovative solutions

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Livestreaming mussel beds in the Hauraki Gulf to individual sponsors, and converting broken vineyard posts to a biofuel are two of the winning ideas that Auckland students have generated in an innovation challenge with a total $32,000 prize pool.

The Solve It challenge, run by the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland Business School, sought innovative solutions to environmental and social problems posed by four sponsors.

Foundation North asked for ways to improve the health of the Hauraki Gulf – specifically, solutions for high sediment and nutrient levels, overfishing and plant and animal welfare. Yealands Family Wines sought ideas for sustainably disposing of the three percent of posts that break in their vineyards every year. Fonterra invited sustainable packaging ideas. Teach First New Zealand invited ideas for building their brand awareness to eligible students.

Twenty teams of University of Auckland students entered the challenge, five for each problem. Under the guidance of mentors and advisers, the teams tested and developed their ideas over a two-week semester break. Sponsors picked winners and second-place-getters based on a final pitch, with a first prize of $5000 per team, and second prize of $3000 per team.

The team picked by Foundation North pitched the idea of enabling Aucklanders to sponsor mussel beds in the Hauraki Gulf, and livestreaming the beds to sponsors so they can watch “their” mussels grow.

“Livestreams are an engaging and popular way for people to stay in touch with nature,” says Tiger Chen, a Bachelor of Commerce student.

The winning team for Yealands claim its idea could make the vineyard, already a pioneer in innovation and sustainability, the first carbon-negative winery in the world.

It involves converting broken vineyard posts into a biofuel called biochar through a process known as pyrolysis. Biochar – charcoal from agricultural waste – acts as a carbon sink, removing carbon emissions, as well as improving soil quality to increase productivity.

“We hope to establish a small-scale pyrolysis plant on Yealands,” says Cai, who is studying towards a Masters in Biomedical Engineering.

Fonterra chose as winners a proposal to make 100 percent biodegradable boxes lined with wool for transporting dairy products.

“The wool lining traps air, which then acts as an insulator,” says Anita Labane, a student of biomedical science.

“The use of insulation makes the packaging suitable for both warm and cold products, as it prevents the movement of heat into or out of the box.”

The team picked by Teach First New Zealand had an idea to tap into future teachers while they are still at school. The programme it pitched would target Year 13 students with leadership potential in low decile secondary schools. Students would receive mentoring in teaching from Teach First New Zealand, a not-for-profit accelerated teacher training scheme. Then, the students would spend two weeks in a Year 7 or 8 classroom at their school, observing the teacher and teaching a topic themselves.

“Students will be awarded NZQA unit standards upon completion, and we hope they’ll leave having been inspired to follow through with teaching in the future,” says Piyawat Khanthee, a marketing and management student.

Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship director Wendy Kerr says the challenge reflects the fact that all organisations across all fields need innovative problem-solving.

“Innovation is about coming up with novel solutions to old and new problems, and entrepreneurship is how you turn those ideas into action,” she says. “Whether you’re established or a start-up, for-profit or not-for-profit, you need innovative people in your organisation. We look forward to seeing how these teams’ ideas are developed.”

Yealands
Winners: “Every bit Exchardonary” – Ben Collett-Nye, Ray Cai and Anna Zam looked at creating charcoal from CCA treated wood – Biochar.

Second: “’Stick’ to Wine” – Julia Wang and Carl Velasco looked at creating a gluing facility to salvage and reuse the broken posts.

Foundation North
Winners: “Project Mussel” – Thomas Howe and Tiger Chen looked at creating personal connections between the community and the gulf through individual sponsorship of mussel beds.

Second: “Love my Hauraki” – Sam Yoon, Kaito Goto, Jesse Narvasa, Esther Chan and Kiri Jones looked at an accreditation system for companies operating in the Hauraki Gulf providing a label in which can be used for marketing the products showing sustainable practices.

Third: “Team Gordon Kang” – Gordon Kang and Jessica McFelin looked at the natural power of biological filters and involving the community in actively cleaning up the gulf.

Fonterra
Winners: “Outside the box” – Nicholas Bing, Shandong Mou and Anita Labane. The idea was to create an eco-bag that is made of 100% biodegradable materials, using biomass fiber composite for the outer layer and wool for the inner layer.

Second: “Throwback” – Andy Wong, Christian Jensen, Ping Hunag and Jilada Eccleston looked at a reusable box that is returned and reused for future orders.

Teach First NZ
Winners: “Meet Maya” – Tim Towers, Piyawat Khanthee, Saad Mohammed and Brian Kasmara looked at proving the opportunity for secondary school students to gain teaching experience.

Second: “Insights” – Tri Phung, Sumedha Hariswamy and Wendy He looked at marketing to and targeting universities students through certain programs that will facilitate Teach First NZ to spread social awareness of educational inequality and in turn create a mass appeal and attraction of teaching as a first choice preference of profession.

$32,000 in prizes for innovative solutions
$32,000 in prizes for innovative solutions

social media

Livestreaming mussel beds in the Hauraki Gulf to individual sponsors, and converting broken vineyard posts to a biofuel are two of the winning ideas that Auckland students have generated in an innovation challenge with a total $32,000 prize pool.

The Solve It challenge, run by the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland Business School, sought innovative solutions to environmental and social problems posed by four sponsors.

Foundation North asked for ways to improve the health of the Hauraki Gulf – specifically, solutions for high sediment and nutrient levels, overfishing and plant and animal welfare. Yealands Family Wines sought ideas for sustainably disposing of the three percent of posts that break in their vineyards every year. Fonterra invited sustainable packaging ideas. Teach First New Zealand invited ideas for building their brand awareness to eligible students.

Twenty teams of University of Auckland students entered the challenge, five for each problem. Under the guidance of mentors and advisers, the teams tested and developed their ideas over a two-week semester break. Sponsors picked winners and second-place-getters based on a final pitch, with a first prize of $5000 per team, and second prize of $3000 per team.

The team picked by Foundation North pitched the idea of enabling Aucklanders to sponsor mussel beds in the Hauraki Gulf, and livestreaming the beds to sponsors so they can watch “their” mussels grow.

“Livestreams are an engaging and popular way for people to stay in touch with nature,” says Tiger Chen, a Bachelor of Commerce student.

The winning team for Yealands claim its idea could make the vineyard, already a pioneer in innovation and sustainability, the first carbon-negative winery in the world.

It involves converting broken vineyard posts into a biofuel called biochar through a process known as pyrolysis. Biochar – charcoal from agricultural waste – acts as a carbon sink, removing carbon emissions, as well as improving soil quality to increase productivity.

“We hope to establish a small-scale pyrolysis plant on Yealands,” says Cai, who is studying towards a Masters in Biomedical Engineering.

Fonterra chose as winners a proposal to make 100 percent biodegradable boxes lined with wool for transporting dairy products.

“The wool lining traps air, which then acts as an insulator,” says Anita Labane, a student of biomedical science.

“The use of insulation makes the packaging suitable for both warm and cold products, as it prevents the movement of heat into or out of the box.”

The team picked by Teach First New Zealand had an idea to tap into future teachers while they are still at school. The programme it pitched would target Year 13 students with leadership potential in low decile secondary schools. Students would receive mentoring in teaching from Teach First New Zealand, a not-for-profit accelerated teacher training scheme. Then, the students would spend two weeks in a Year 7 or 8 classroom at their school, observing the teacher and teaching a topic themselves.

“Students will be awarded NZQA unit standards upon completion, and we hope they’ll leave having been inspired to follow through with teaching in the future,” says Piyawat Khanthee, a marketing and management student.

Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship director Wendy Kerr says the challenge reflects the fact that all organisations across all fields need innovative problem-solving.

“Innovation is about coming up with novel solutions to old and new problems, and entrepreneurship is how you turn those ideas into action,” she says. “Whether you’re established or a start-up, for-profit or not-for-profit, you need innovative people in your organisation. We look forward to seeing how these teams’ ideas are developed.”

Yealands
Winners: “Every bit Exchardonary” – Ben Collett-Nye, Ray Cai and Anna Zam looked at creating charcoal from CCA treated wood – Biochar.

Second: “’Stick’ to Wine” – Julia Wang and Carl Velasco looked at creating a gluing facility to salvage and reuse the broken posts.

Foundation North
Winners: “Project Mussel” – Thomas Howe and Tiger Chen looked at creating personal connections between the community and the gulf through individual sponsorship of mussel beds.

Second: “Love my Hauraki” – Sam Yoon, Kaito Goto, Jesse Narvasa, Esther Chan and Kiri Jones looked at an accreditation system for companies operating in the Hauraki Gulf providing a label in which can be used for marketing the products showing sustainable practices.

Third: “Team Gordon Kang” – Gordon Kang and Jessica McFelin looked at the natural power of biological filters and involving the community in actively cleaning up the gulf.

Fonterra
Winners: “Outside the box” – Nicholas Bing, Shandong Mou and Anita Labane. The idea was to create an eco-bag that is made of 100% biodegradable materials, using biomass fiber composite for the outer layer and wool for the inner layer.

Second: “Throwback” – Andy Wong, Christian Jensen, Ping Hunag and Jilada Eccleston looked at a reusable box that is returned and reused for future orders.

Teach First NZ
Winners: “Meet Maya” – Tim Towers, Piyawat Khanthee, Saad Mohammed and Brian Kasmara looked at proving the opportunity for secondary school students to gain teaching experience.

Second: “Insights” – Tri Phung, Sumedha Hariswamy and Wendy He looked at marketing to and targeting universities students through certain programs that will facilitate Teach First NZ to spread social awareness of educational inequality and in turn create a mass appeal and attraction of teaching as a first choice preference of profession.


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