Unlimited Garden Opportunities in Limited Urban Spaces Challenge

March 21, 2013
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Student Reflection - March 20, 2013

In today’s challenge my teammates and I were admittedly a little bit surprised, we looked at each other, and definitely none of us looked like farmers or agricultural experts. An accounting/finance major, I was hoping that my teammates who are actually studying in the College or Arts and Science and in Parks College would have a better idea of what steps should be taken, but seeing the surprise in their eyes my hopes were shut down. This would not be a one-person effort; we would have to pool our knowledge together and work as a team!

With the supplies that we were given we were supposed to create an indoor prototype of a 3x4 garden using straws, paper, markers, and tape. Knowing that our time was limited we quickly decided to the best of our knowledge what necessities are implied with the words fancy indoor garden. Quickly we decided that irrigation, lighting, and style were all important factors for our potential customers. With these three concepts we were able to create a standard looking greenhouse with many extra perks such as hexagonal 360 degree watering sprinkler system that would be able to collect water from the bottom of the house to avoid waste while dispersing evenly throughout the whole area, and we included lights that would be able to illuminate the whole area, with reflective walls to maximize the lighting inside the chamber while not impacting the lighting in the house, as to not make the garden another uncomfortable and large in-home appliance.

I believe that although the green idea was incorporated in our project, one piece that we were missing can actually be found in the previous paragraph, “standard looking greenhouse”. Somewhere in our construction we completely forgot about the third concept we needed to incorporate in the garden, style. In the case of this project, although the ideas were there the design was lacking. In order to be innovative, you cannot be standard, and when I saw the winning project, it was in the shape of a bookshelf. This bookshelf style would definitely be a lot more pleasing to the eye.

I believe that doing this challenge pushes me to be creative and work together with a team, and for me, with every challenge comes a little more ambition, and I hope that one-week these skills and emotions that I gained from these challenges will pay off with a victory in the innovation challenge arena; more importantly I hope, and I know that some day, I will need to think like an innovator, and in truth by practicing at these challenges, someday I will successfully do so, and that day will mark one of my greatest victories.

Winning Reflection - Matthew Palka

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