“Geek for Good” University Design Challenge

18 January 2016 | International Union for Conservation of Nature News Release

January 13th, Beijing–A workshop designed to share UNDP‘s innovation experience with university students and formulate a sense of responsibility towards society was held in Beijing.

The “innovation for development” workshop introduced the “Geek for Good” Open Design Challenge to university students and encouraged them to establish innovative ideas and ambitions that will change the world.

To begin the session, Mr. Patrick Haverman, Deputy Country Director of UNDP China introduced the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how members of the public can contribute towards a world without poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030. He emphasized how the SDGs link closely with China’s Five Year Plan (FYP) and the Belt and Road Initiatives (BRI).

The workshop was designed in order to inspire action and explain the importance of innovation to the students. Ms. Louise Xi Li, UNDP Communication and Innovation officer, gave a presentation on UNDP’s “innovation for development” journey from both abroad and at home. For example, how UNVR utilizes visual reality technology to bring vivid disaster scenarios to common phone users. Also, in China, an e-waste app in cooperation with Baidu is used to promote greener neighborhoods.

In addition, Ms. Zeng Meng, National Consultant presented UNDP’s pioneering report that used big data to measure the living standards of the poverty in China which is a groundbreaking report to harness big data to help measure the progress of poverty eradication, achieve development goals to leave no one behind.

The workshop called for students to get involved with innovation for development and introduced the “Geek for Good” Open Design Challenge, supported by Chinese technology giant Baidu. UNDP and Baidu are encouraging individuals from across the country to utilize innovative concepts such as reverse engineering to design, adapt and prototype public services. The challenge wants students with a passion for tech-based solutions to submit a proposal to tackle a development challenge in China.

During the workshop, participants were divided into groups to discuss urgent problems across four focus areas (poverty, transportation, disaster management and environment) and what possible solutions could be developed. The discussions provided multiple inspiring solutions including utilizing drones to find parking places, building sensors to record real-time data of water emissions as well as utilizing biological bacteria to purify water.

The workshop also provided the opportunity for Baidu technology expert Mr. Liu Yongfeng to give a technical introduction to Baidu’s platforms including machine vision and voice recognition from multiple front-edged technologies. This enabled the students to have a distinct mindset of how they could combine their innovative ideas with technologies.

UNDP hopes this event will be a starting point to engage more innovative and ambitious youngsters to apply for the “Geek for Good” Open Design Challenge by providing a wide platform, various technology and fund resources to contribute towards change in our society.

For more information and to apply for the open design challenge please visit: innovation.baidu.com

Link to original article: http://www.cn.undp.org/content/china/en/home/presscenter/articles/2017/01/20/-geek-for-good-open-design-challenge-workshop-with-university-students.html


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