February 11th, 2016
Congratulations to Brianna Ryan, Jackson Gamby, and Zeke Gamby of Connect 5 Kids on Kauai, who took home the top prize—a $2,000 educational scholarship—in Blue Planet Foundation’s first annual Energy Innovation Design Challenge. Launched at Blue Planet Foundation’s inaugural Student Energy Summit in November 2015, the Design Challenge tasked students from across the state with developing actionable solutions for Hawaii’s energy challenges.
Students teamed up to create three- to five-minute videos showcasing their ideas and prototypes, using the design-thinking methodology they learned at the Summit, thanks to expert volunteers from Oceanit. Oceanit was one of several sponsors—includingHawaii Energy, Energy Excelerator, the Bill Healy Foundation, Hawaiian Airlines, and the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism—that made the Summit and Design Challenge a reality.
“The Design Challenge students really impressed us with their creativity and enthusiasm for tackling Hawaii’s energy challenges,” noted Francois Rogers, Special Projects Director at Blue Planet Foundation. “They are now clean energy ambassadors for their schools and communities, and their innovative ideas will be an inspiration for new students attending the 2016 Student Energy Summit.”
Also known as “The Megawatts,” Brianna, Jackson, and Zeke, produced an inspirational video that walked through each stage of the design-thinking process: (1) empathizing by observing and developing an understanding of the problem of climate change; (2) defining the problem based on those observations; (3)ideating by generating as many ideas as possible for potential solutions; (4) prototyping by researching and building working examples of those ideas; and (5) testing their prototypes before repeating the process until they achieve a solution. In the end, they successfully tested a prototype using duckweed pellets as an alternative source of energy.
A panel of distinguished judges—comprised of educators, community leaders, and clean energy experts—selected the winning team. Chelsea Harder, a Design Challenge judge and Transformational Program Specialist at sponsor Hawaii Energy, offered praise for the program: “Hawaii Energy is pleased to support Blue Planet Foundation’s Energy Innovation Design Challenge. This follow-on from the Student Energy Summit has given students the opportunity to bring their ideas to life and has inspired them to be part of the energy solution for Hawaii. Collaborative and forward-thinking challenges such as these are building our future leaders and innovative thinkers to help Hawaii meet its goal of 100% clean energy by 2045.”
A total of eight teams competed in the Design Challenge.
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