The Young Innovators Competition is an annual ITU Telecom initiative aimed at talented young social entrepreneurs using technology creatively to meet a range of real-life developmental challenges.
Our 2016 competition is looking for the most exciting ideas or startups in response to a series of global developmental challenges between now and ITU Telecom World 2016 in Bangkok this November. Our unique interactive platform, powered by Crowdicity, is open to young people from anywhere in the world to engage with the challenges and to contribute, comment, refine and evolve ideas.
Big Data and Health Challenge
Since the founding of public health in the 1850s, data has been at the heart of almost every advance in modern health care. Today’s big data can serve healthcare systems in myriad ways, from creating specialized treatment plans for individuals, to designing health systems to better aid communities services, track flows of refugees, and help with resettlement or integration into host communities.
Meet the Winners
Bisa Health Application – Raindolf Owusu, Ghana: a mobile app enabling direct, remote interaction with medical practitioners. Bisa, which means “ask” in the Twi language of Ghana, aims to provide quick, easy public access to doctors for many people who avoid standard check-ups through lack of time, money and fear of stigmatization, leading to potentially dangerous self-medication. It will also enable quick dissemination of health information throughout Ghana.
iCataract – Afnan Sharief, Pakistan: a portable device and smartphone app to facilitate early detection and quantification of cataracts, enabling timely surgery. The device takes an image of the eye which is then processed by the app, drawing on a large international data set to increase the accuracy of its analysis. A low-cost solution, it is targeted at healthcare NGOs in developing nations, where cataracts are both acute and the leading cause of blindness.
The innovative use of ICTs can be very effective in mitigating the many problems faced by refugees. Solutions include providing critical services such as education and healthcare, enhancing integration, connecting families and tracking movements, safely returning refugees to their home countries – or working to prevent the situations that create refugees in the first place.
Meet the Winners
Refugee Connect – Noura Ismail, USA: an online platform connecting refugees with local individuals and institutions in the host country. It aims to help refugees struggling to integrate, learn the language, negotiate daily life and navigate complex legal and institutional systems, through providing services such as local mentors, local employment and training opportunities, local education, translation services and basic local information.
TextAlert – Andrea Danni, Italy: an SMS-based management tool aimed at providing critical information to refugees and asylum seekers arriving in a new country. Available in different languages, information includes advice on where to find basic services such as first aid, healthcare, housing and food, emergency assistance, refugee rights, and registration into a public-access database to assist family and friends in finding one another.
2015 Challenges and Winners
The winners of each challenge joined us at ITU Telecom World 2015 in Budapest, taking part in a full programme of entrepreneurship workshops and mentorship sessions with industry leaders, as well as networking, showcasing and pitching opportunities on the event showfloor.
Single Board Challenge
Harnessing the latest generation of single board computers and controllers as a tool for social good could make wearables and the IoT accessible to the neediest in society and improve the lives of developing communities around the world. Solutions could be based on tools such as Intel Edison and Intel Galileo, applied in the form of wearables, embedded devices, Internet of Things solutions or other applications, combining open source technologies with low costs, customization potential and small sizes with enormous potential for social impact.
Meet the Winners
TactiX – Ugur Can Bastik, Turkey: a single board-powered smartphone which focuses on connectivity through cellular WiFi and mobile internet connection. Its tactile display enables it to show shapes, smileys and 100+ braille characters. A new kind of braille typing area lets users write rapidly in braille using the phone, and multi-functional hotkeys on the side areas can be set up beforehand. It will include braille interfaces for social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.
SolarKobo – Ogbonnaya Bassey, Nigeria: providing solar power systems with zero-upfront financing in Nigeria as a cheaper, more reliable and cleaner electricity source than the private oil generators currently widely used to supplement the insufficient public electricity supply. It will allow small businesses and families to benefit from solar systems for relatively low monthly fees and will use single board devices for remote monitoring and customer payment systems.
At least 200,000 people died in 2014 as a result of armed conflict, in addition to many unreported civilian casualties and major negative impact on infrastructure, communities, families and security. How can ICTs be used to protect individuals, keep people safe in conflicts, resolve or prevent conflict and rebuild communities? How can start-ups or digital solutions work to improve the life of vulnerable people, from women, children, the elderly and disabled to refugees and internally displaced persons, in conflicts such as warfare, terrorism, criminal violence or rioting?
Meet the Winners
Switotwins – Glorypearl Dy, the Philippines: a creative, collaborative space providing a venue for young people to showcase their creativity as artists enabling children to learn more on peace and conflict and to express their feelings about the issues through digital media. Many young people still choose to engage in constructive initiatives that promote mediation, intercultural communication, conflict transformation and peace work projects.
Data = Life –Terrina Govender, South Africa: a software platform that allows users in conflict regions to communicate critical information via SMS and IVR to international aid organizations and the private sector. This information could include location data, food supply shortages, or details of medical supplies. The ability to accurately assess the needs and requirements in a conflict zone is invaluable in reconciling supply and demand of commodities.
Entrepreneurship is a key economic driver, enabling new innovations to enter the market, increasing competition and leading to the creation of new companies directly affecting economic growth. How can access to resources, education, incubation, start-up capital, investment and support to new start-ups best be provided? How can start-ups be connected to each other and to potential employees, mentors and experts – in particular in groups underrepresented in the tech world such as women, minorities and rural communities?
Meet the Winners
School Administration Management Solution (SAMS) – Ei Phyu Zin, Myanmar: aimed at teachers setting up private schools and academies within Myanmar’s reforming education sector, SAMS provides management skills, including not just Student Affairs and Teaching Affairs, but also Human Resource Management, Financial and Inventory Control and other tools and skills needed for administration. It also guides the evolution, business models and growth of private schools created by these entrepreneurs.