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Building an ecosystem of innovation and collaboration

By Molly Fassbender, UWCSEA Foundation
17 August 2021

IDEAS Hub East

Innovation initiatives at UWCSEA support students to take their original concepts from ideation to launch, learning from both their successes and mistakes as they are encouraged to develop an entrepreneurial mindset as they seek opportunities and possibilities to:

  • make the world a better place
  • design products, services, and systems of value
  • reduce our impact on the planet

The IDEAS Hub at Dover and the newly established UWCSEA East Innovation ecosystem encourage students of all ages to internalise an innovator’s mindset, think critically and to connect and collaborate with their local community as they seek to create solutions to real-world issues.

This year, we were pleased to host the Smart City Programme and Challenge at the IDEAS Hub, and see the development of a number of strands under the UWCSEA East Innovation, which included establishing infrastructure such as Tinkering Pods for Junior School students and supporting students to participate in range of activities—see a write up on page 22 from Wall-East #8540 on their rookie year in the FIRST Robotics Competition.

Smart City Programme and Challenge

In February and March 2021, UWCSEA hosted the Smart City Programme and Challenge in partnership with Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation (HMC/KIA). Over 40 High School students from both campuses attended the programme, which kicked off with an interactive lecture series. Delivered by experts, the six-hour launch programme addressed themes of new mobility solutions, cleantech, energy, new smart services and smart infrastructure in relation to smart cities.

Culminating in a hackathon on Saturday, 27 March at the IDEASHub, 11 teams of students were supported by HMC/KIA and UWCSEA staff as they created a business case for an initiative on a smart city topic of their choice. A panel of experts judged the final projects with students competing for prizes generously supplied by HMC/KIA.

The combination of lecture series and hackathon gave students both insights and hands-on experience of how technology is changing the world around them—and how they can help to develop viable solutions for the future. Congratulations to all students who took part. Thank you to our partners at HMC/KIA for helping to deliver this programme for our students.

IDEAS Hub Smart City Programme

Winning ideas

Congratulations to our student teams:

1st place: SocioPonics, a modular, smart, affordable, and configurable hydroponic unit to promote social gardening and provide smart communities with clean and healthy sources of nutrition. Rehaan and Winston (Grade 12)

2nd place: Smart Fitness, new workout experience through smart technology and infrastructure. Nicolau, Samh, Rasmus, Shreya and Pei (Grade 11)

3rd place: Optimisation of tree distribution, using data analytics to optimise planting outcomes. Uditi, Aakash, Anvay and Yuri (Grade 11) 

IDEAS Hub Smart City Programme

UWCSEA East Innovation launch year

This year the aim has been to establish innovation as a focus of creative community engagement and entrepreneurial student activity across the campus. A range of existing student initiatives were brought together and nurtured under the umbrella of East Innovation, while a number of new ideas were explored or expanded, such as the identification of locations around campus where a maker community mindset can be encouraged.

Junior School Tinkering Pods

As part of the Maker Community initiative, the Junior School now enjoys a tinkering area in the Grade 4 and 5 shared pod space. This provides students with daily access to hand tools and recycled materials, encouraging their creativity and STEM skills.

Planning for the future

While the longer term may see the establishment of a dedicated innovation space on East Campus, for the moment the focus is on supporting students to take their original concepts from ideation to launch-—in essence, using their ideas to create solutions to real-world problems and needs within their own community as they are empowered to create innovative products, services and systems:

UWCSEA East Innovation Products
UWCSEA East Innovation Services
UWCSEA East Innovation Systems
Developing products with distinguishing features and functionality Making a product or process easier to try, use, and enjoy for a purpose Designing complementary products and services to create robust, scalable systems

Examples may include:

  • Circular Design
  • Modular Design
  • Game Design
  • Robotics
  • Industrial Design
  • eTextiles

Examples may include:

  • Sharing Economy
  • UX Experience
  • Augmented Reality
  • Community Partnership
  • Coding
  • Social Startups

Examples may include:

  • Sustainable Food
  • Planet Centric Design
  • Open-Source Platforms
  • Internet of Things
  • Smart City
  • eWaste


Read more about innovation in our community news stories: First Robotics Competition and The Smart City Programme and Challenge.