Unilever Technovation Challenge 2018

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

We hosted 50 of the top high school applicants to compete and participate in a skills-building workshop and innovation challenge and to prepare them for the future of work, technology and sustainable development.

Participants spent a weekend at the Unilever head office in Umhlanga, Durban learning about engineering, personal branding, smart cities and ideating and pitching innovative business solutions.

Smart cities:

A smart city is an urban area that uses information and communication technologies to increase operational efficiency, share information with the public and improve both the quality of government services and citizen welfare. Common technology implemented in smart cities are used to collect data and insights gained from that data are used to manage assets, resources and services efficiently; in return, that data is used improve the operations across the city.

Smart cities integrate technology, connectivity and data processing to create efficient city management that prioritizes the environment and citizen well-being.

Unilever Technovation Challenge Durban 2018:

The Unilever Technovation challenge weekend began with welcoming our cohort with a gift pack full of Unilever goodies and icebreaker activities with the focus on breaking stereotypes relating to engineering careers and challenging the barriers existing to women in STEM.

Participants creating a mind map of the things they would like to see implemented in their communities in the future.

We then facilitated a workshop on the future of work, careers in STEM and how to define and present their values and personal brand. We then got to dive into a skills-building workshop covering the process of innovation and effectively representing and pitching an innovative business solution. The girls were then split up into groups and challenged to apply this process to design their own smart city technology. Their problem statement being: How might we transform our cities into smart cities?

What would a smart city look like to you? What kind of technology would it include? How will this improve the lives of citizens? These were the questions posed to our 2018 cohort for the 2018 innovation challenge.

As a second year volunteer for WomEng and winner of the 2018 Fellowship Technovation Challenge I worked as a facilitator for the workshops and sat as a judge for the innovation challenge. Some of the interesting top inventions from the pitch-off included a smart trolley that could reduce queues by weighing and scanning your items and drone rubbish collectors to keep our cities clean. The winning team received a gift pack sponsored by Unilever and all the bragging rights of being our top young innovators in a group of very talented, imaginative and social-conscious participants.

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