University of Western Australia: Student innovators celebrated for real world work with industry

Students from The University of Western Australia Innovation Academy have been recognised for their entrepreneurial skills in providing industry clients with answers to real world problems at a special online awards event.

The students addressed challenges such as how to help Western Power recruit and retain people living with disability or how to assist Perth Festival attract a younger audience to its Lotterywest Films, and came up with solutions which were judged by the businesses involved.

UWA Innovation Manager Dr Jo Hawkins believes that every student is a born innovator. The Innovation Academy, an immersive four-week online course, is open to everyone from first year graduates to final year PhD candidates.

“The program helps students to identify their strengths and unleash their hidden potential by providing opportunities to work alongside innovation experts, industry clients and UWA alumni mentors,” Dr Hawkins said.

“The business environment is becoming increasingly complex with rapid technological change, start-ups and competitors challenging the status quo. Students can offer new perspectives and fresh thinking as they question old ways of doing things.”

Western Power challenged students to generate new insights about how Western Australian households are generating solar energy using data from electricity meters.

The winning team developed an analytical model that could be used to help to better manage and orchestrate the network. Team members included Ananya Rao, Fraser Soet, Zhicong Wei, David Adams, Ee Zher Kwoh and Prem Malhi.

Jessica Jansen, Molly Goldacre and Cleo Sabath also won an award with their idea to help Western Power improve the recruitment of people living with disability. The team aimed to create more attractive and equitable opportunities for new kinds of workers through the development of a new leadership role and sharing success stories

And for the Perth Festival problem of attracting a younger and more diverse audience to Lotterywest films at the UWA Somerville, Ervin Basilio, Celeste Elliott, Ciaran O’Rourke, Chloe Plester, Ashwin Suresh and Yilei Zheng took out the honours.

They proposed a range of insight-led, data driven solutions including experiential marketing, customer segmentation and engagement with UWA Student Guild.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Professor David Sadler congratulated all of the students involved including the Spirit of Innovation Award winner Sophia Kukuladze and Future Leader prize taker Ellena Sabater.

“UWA’s Innovation Academy provides students with high levels of engagement with industry and mentors and gives them the opportunity to do new things, take risks and learn from their failures, all very important lessons,” Professor Sadler said.

“It also provides them with five proven employability skills – problem solving, communication, collaboration, being creative thinkers and of course, innovation.”

President of Dance UWA Emilija Hristova and Music Director of the UWA Electronic Music Appreciation Society (EMAS) DJ HenrySwaggaz, aka Henry Le, made sure that the awards celebration went off with a bang with music and a spot of Tik Tok dancing.

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