150 students from all over Scotland successfully progressed through the first round of the Young Innovators Challenge and were invited to Innovation Weekend 2015, in Edinburgh last weekend. The residential, two day event was designed to introduce the students to creative tools and processes to develop their social innovation ideas into business plans.
Each student was awarded a £100 prize on arrival and there was time for some early morning networking before guest speaker, David Duke, took to the stage.
David kicked off the weekend with an inspirational speech on how Street Soccer Scotland was originally inspired by his own personal experience of how sport can be the catalyst for positive social change. The finalists were given the opportunity to ask David their questions and then put his (and their own) football skills to the test in a kick about during the break. As a thank you for coming to speak on his birthday, David was presented with a football inspired cake.
SIE’s Innovation & Enterprise Director, Ann Davidson, took to the floor to impart that ‘Creativity is not device dependant’, which hinted at the hands-on activities coming up.
A flurry of colourful post–it notes could be seen being stuck, and re-stuck, as finalists got to grips with The Value Proposition Canvas and The Business Model Canvas. The SIE Regional Business and Innovation Advisors were on hand to offer guidance.
After lunch, the Enterprise Programme Team used pens, play dough and pipe cleaners to challenge students to design a model of their ideas for the session on rough, rapid and effective prototyping.
For the remainder of the day, SIE’s Lesley Hetherington introduced students to the “The Innovation!” and then finalists were able to distil the day’s learning over dinner which sparked some vibrant conversations and debate.
Day two packed in more sessions on innovation and pitching, where students were shown some examples of the best video pitches from YIC 2014 for inspiration. SIE’s Tom McGuire also introduced the finalists to Personality Poker, which quickly had people declaring ‘I’m a diamond guy’ or ‘I’m a total club’ in an exercise which promotes an understanding of how different personalities can work together to produce diverse, creative and productive teams.
The day drew to a close with an overview of the next steps and a last chance to swap contact details in order to share skills and expertise to develop their ideas over the coming weeks.
For the next stage, finalists will be asked to produce a two-minute video pitch for the chance to be one of thirty winners who could receive £2000 to work on their innovations throughout summer 2015.
YIC 2014 judges Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of Social Bite, and Susan Aktemel, director of Homes for Good, will be joined by Graham Bell, chief executive of Kibble, to judge the final round this year.