Kuching (Sarawak), Wednesday, 8 June 2016 – Tunku Putra School (TPS) Form 2 student, Joseph Chung (14), together with his three team mates, Allegra Chan (16) from Lodge School and Ezra Adrian Robert and Ivan Avannus (both 15), from schools in Sabah, and representing East Malaysia, emerged as champions of Malaysia at the Sime Darby Young Innovators Challenge (YIC) 2016 held over four days in Kuala Lumpur from 30th May 2016.
Clearly impressing the Prime Minister, Y A B Datuk Seri Najib Razak and, of course, the judges with their innovative and creative invention, team Robin Food claimed first prize for its project entitled “Turning Waste into Millions,” in response to the competition theme ‘Fighting Poverty through Innovation.’
Their app, called Robin Food, linked hotels and restaurants with food surpluses to charity homes and non-governmental organisations that distribute such surpluses to those in need.
Taking the cue as champions of East Malaysia in March 2016 for a similar project, Joseph and his team refined their innovative concepts further and claimed the first prize of RM10,000.00 together with a trophy and MacBook Air each ahead of three teams from West Malaysia. Over the educational and inspirational four-day workshop, the team learned much and went on to impress the judges not only with the originality of their project, critical thinking, and incisive response challenging questions for the judges, but also with their ability to present their innovation in a highly professional manner.
Speaking at the YIC, Y A B Datuk Seri Najib said that nations must innovate to succeed and explained that the Government is receptive to innovative ideas that can change people’s lives. “A nation that innovates will stay ahead,” he said, adding that “for the culture of innovation to flourish schools and parents should allow students to expand their innovative and creative thinking.”
The Principal of TPS, Susan Holmes commended Joseph for his creative and innovative success in this competition. “Creativity, innovation, critical and original thinking and resourcefulness are all part of the daily learning experiences at TPS,” she commented.
When asked what his team’s inspiration for the idea for this challenge was, Joseph explained that “we came across a recent research, which revealed that one third of our food produced was wasted globally. A lot of expired food but still eatable is thrown away by many supermarkets and restaurants. In Malaysia, approximately 8,000 tons of food are wasted daily, of which 3,000 tons are preventable” and the ‘Robin Food’ Mobile App is their solution!
Urging his fellow students to collaborate, be curious and experiment with different solutions to problems to add value, Joseph recommended that they too should share their innovative thinking with others, as “whether the ideas are good or not, as we can always improve our ideas and combine them together. Creativity is not simply about coming up with big ideas, but coming up with practical solutions to everyday problems and then applying them to real life situations.”
In the aftermath of this competition, Joseph’s plan is to “keep reading, keep researching and keep innovating with a positive and passionate heart.”