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Engaging the youth on global issues

Sime Darby Young Innovators Challenge 2016
The Young Innovators Challenge (SDYIC), first organised by Sime Darby in 2016, was devised as a means to engage today’s youth and tap into their ideas for social change. Organised in the form of innovation workshops, SDYIC provides practical innovation skills while at the same time, exposing them to social issues. The programme targets youths ages 13 – 16, and invites them to collaborate in discovering and proposing actionable solutions to make our world a better place.

“The YIC is unique in that it challenges our youths to think of solutions to address real life issues such as poverty, which is our main topic this year. We are nurturing these young minds to be innovative and to come up with ideas to help the urban poor to be self-sustaining.” 

Sime Darby Chairman, YBhg. Tan Sri Dato’ Abdul Ghani Othman

As future leaders and engaged global citizens, the youth have an important and valuable role to play in addressing some of the world’s most significant challenges, which includes poverty, climate change, universal health and human rights among others. It is imperative that youths of today are educated on these issues and given the opportunity to voice their thoughts and ideas regarding them. 

For the first year, youths from all over Malaysia were invited to share their ideas on how to tackle Poverty from a People, Planet and Prosperity perspective. Participation was received from all over the country, in the form of videos, essays and drawings. More than 160 participants were selected to be a part of the SDYIC Regional Camps, which were held in Penang, Melaka, Port Dickson and Sabah. 

The Regional Camps, which were held for 4 days and 3 nights, saw the participants exposed to Design Thinking, Brainstorming and Prototyping, key elements in Innovation. As part of the challenge, participants were grouped into teams and had to work together to produce an innovative solution based on the challenge statements given.
Expert Advice

To help them on their innovation journey, organisers invited experts from various non-governmental agencies and social organisations, such as Grace Community Services and Street Feeders, to guide the participants on Social Change and to give more insights on the people who are the target beneficiaries of the programme. 

Sharing on his reflection of the programme, Mr. Gary Liew, Founder of Street Feeders of KL said, "It is very bittersweet that it has come to an end or as I would like to see it as the beginning of an amazing path in life for these individuals. I saw their passion, witness their heartbreaks, that ah-ha moment and many more but most importantly I saw them grow, pushing themselves to be better as each day greeted them.”

The teams were also guided by Innovation Officers, Sime Darby employees who act as facilitators to the teams during the workshops. 

One of them, was Research Assistant Siti Khadijah Mohd Rais who shared that the programme gave a big impact to her personally, and she also learned from the process, to be more creative and innovative in her work and life. It was also opened her eyes further to the suffering of others and made her more conscious of waste.   
SDYIC Ambassador

The Sime Darby Young Innovators Challenge named Ms. Faye Jong Sow Fei as the SDYIC 2016 Ambassador. The 18-year old and former student of SMK Batu Lintang, Kuching, Sarawak, is the first Malaysian to have an asteroid named after her, after she received the First Award in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the world’s largest pre-college and science fair. 

“I enjoyed interacting with the participants as we are in a similar age group, so it was easy to relate to their concerns. I may not be able to support in terms of knowledge at this point but I do what I can, which is to encourage”, shares Faye during an interview on the programme.
The Winning Ideas

One winning team was selected from each regional workshop to continue their Innovation journey to the National Workshop. 

  • Turning Waste into Millions by Robin Food Team (Sabah)
    An app to reduce food wastage by bridging communities such as charity homes and NGOs that need food assistance with sources as supermarkets, hotels and restaurants that generate the food waste.
  • Life Changing Centre by The Lion King team (Port Dickson)
    Establishing a NGO which includes building a Life Changing Centre to reskill and assist in job placements for the urban poor and homeless.
  • Building Hope by Unicorn Inc team (Penang)
    Restoring 3 abandoned buildings to become a community centre and conduct 3-month programme with accommodation, food and workshop to assist them back into society.
  • Bridge IT by Ace team (Malacca ) 
    Tackling the challenge of poverty with their innovative solution called Bridge-IT. It is an app that connects people in poverty with service jobs such as babysitting, daily housekeeping (maid services), cooking, baking, gardening, painting and others. People who need the service done can use the apps to hire those in poverty who can provide the service.  
National Workshop

Held at the Sime Darby Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the 5 days 4 nights workshop saw the four winning regional teams compete to become the SDYIC2016 Champions. Apart from formal workshops, teams were now given the opportunity to meet directly with the beneficiaries and get first-hand feedback on their projects. Teams also joined Street Feeders KL for a feeding the homeless session. The workshop culminated in a big Finale Event, as part of Sime Darby’s Innovation Day. 
The Winning Team

The Finale saw judges from Sime Darby, Google, Asia School of Business and the UN make the call on which idea stood out best as the winning idea for SDYIC2016. Apart from the prototype review by the judges, teams also presented their ideas in a 1 hour shark-tank presentation session in front of a crowd of almost 400 guests made up of Sime Darby employees. 

The winners were announced during the Grand Award Ceremony, which saw Malaysia’s Prime Minister, the Honourable Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak gracing the event and awarding the top prize to team Robin Food, of the Sabah Region. The team members of Robin Food, Allegra Chan Qin Hur, Ezra Adrian Robert, Ivan Avannus and Joseph Chung all hail from East Malaysia. After the finale, the team shared how excited and amazing they felt to have been selected as the inagural winners of SDYIC and it was inspirational to see our young innovators believe in themselves and their capabilities to make a difference. 
Signing off on this year’s Young Innovators Challenge, Camp Coordinator and Project Manager, Nurul Hidayah Hassan, from Sime Darby’s Strategy and Innovation team shares, “It was a great working experience, absorbing the impact of ideas in the larger scheme of things. During the finale, I felt like a proud parent when I saw how much the participants have achieved since they joined the regional workshops.” 

Look out for the next Sime Darby Young Innovators Challenge next year. More info at www.sdyounginnovators.com 
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