Emerging Technologies Challenge

April 4, 2013
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Student Reflection - April 3, 2013

I am a neuroscience major on the pre-med track, not an engineer. What does the weekly challenge have to do with what I am studying? This thought echoed through my mind each week when I listened to my friends talk up their experiences during the weekly innovation challenges. I finally gave it a chance this week as I participated in the challenge for the first time. It quickly became apparent that my preconceived notions about the WIC were way off base. Teams were not built around engineers, but instead around a diversity of backgrounds. In fact, this theme of breaking down perceptions permeated my experience with this challenge. My experience this week has led me to the realization that in order to think outside the box while seeking innovation, it is important to recognize what that box is. Without identifying what is holding you back, it is hard to address these roadblocks. My box was having underlying assumptions about the challenge. Once I realized this, I was able to recognize that I had ideas to offer, as well as things to learn from participating in the WIC.

In today’s challenge, our group was tasked to market an up and coming technology. This required our group to think about various applications of self-healing technologies in a holistic manner. We addressed the logistics of how these products work, as well as the economic, social and environmental implications that arise from this technology. In line with the philosophy of WIC, our team aimed to integrate our own experiences and backgrounds into the marketing of this product. The methodology used in this challenge of approaching problems in a holistic manner while contemplating the micro and macro consequences of ideas can be applied in any situation. The synthesis of ideas from various fields and points of view is truly learning and innovation because innovation comes from the synthesis of ideas in ways that were never before conceived. I now look forward to participating in this competition in the future as a fun and engaging way of learning about myself, others and how to manage the challenges that arise in the world around us, and within the interactions between those striving to change the problems.

Winning Reflection - Ted Stewart-Hester

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