Students participating in the Business Innovation Challenge (BIC) benefit from complex challenges with a variety of logistical hurdles. By working to overcome these hurdles, learners gain experience balancing the needs and requirements of different stakeholders.
When the NSW Government developer Landcom partnered with Incept Labs to ask students how to reduce the Urban Heat Island Effect in Western Sydney, the students encountered exactly this kind of complexity.
Read this conversation between Incept Labs and Landcom’s Luba Edris to understand how she experienced the BIC, and what her team will take from it.
▸ A Conversation with Luba Edris
Incept Labs: Do you mind introducing yourself?
Luba Edris: My name is Luba Edris, and I work as a sustainability officer at Landcom.
Incept Labs: So this is your first Business Innovation Challenge?
Luba Edris: Yes, though Landcom was engaged in a couple of BICs before, this is my first.
Incept Labs: How did you get involved?
Luba Edris: It started with our learning and development team approaching my team, the sustainability team, to build a challenge. For some background, the heat island effect and air quality are both are real priorities for us, and we’ve been looking into this area and doing some desktop studies. When we saw what our peers were doing, it's still really a new area with no established best practices. So, when the learning and development team asked us to design a challenge, we said ‘oh yes, we have a challenge for you!’. So today’s challenge is around the heat island effect and its effect on air quality, and how we solve it with a core benefit to improve air quality.
Incept Labs: Has the challenged focussed on a specific place?
Luba Edris: Well, the heat island effect is a general problem, but it’s a major issue in Western Sydney, were we do a lot of work. So this is where we’re focusing at the moment.
Incept Labs: What are your impressions about how the students are progressing?
Luba Edris: Today I've talked to a couple of groups and I'm really impressed by the ideas and how they’ve developed from yesterday. What’s great is they’re not just approaching it from a technology point of view. They're looking at if from a policy, community, and behavior perspective. For instance, they’ve asked how we would incentivise the community to help, and are thinking about different elements, such as creating new roles with the local council. I'm very impressed that at just 15 years old they’re thinking like this!
Incept Labs: In your professional life you would have encountered consultants... is this a different kind of consultant?
Luba Edris: Well, many of our consultants do have a fresh mindset and come with nice ideas. But today I see real variety in these groups. The first group really impressed me in how systematic and organised they were. I could definitely see them as policymakers, or working in government agencies, changing things. They thought outside the box. There’s another group who gave some technical solutions and I could see them as consultants in the future, presenting a solution for a specific project or issue.
Incept Labs: Do you think you’ll do this again?
Luba Edris: I'm not the person who decides that, but I would love to be involved in a different challenge with more students.
Incept Labs:: Would you have liked to have done this as a student?
Luba Edris: Definitely! My daughter is just five years old, but I would love seeing her at a young age thinking about these issues.