NTRC launches ‘Ideas and Innovations’ competition
October 25, 2013

NTRC launches ‘Ideas and Innovations’ competition

Secondary and tertiary level students across St Vincent and the Grena­dines are being invited to submit their ideas about technological innovation which could make certain government and state services more efficient.{{more}}

Last Friday, the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) launched its “Ideas and Innovations” competition.

According to Shontell Murphy, projects officer at the NTRC, students across the country are being encouraged to put forward ideas and applications to implement new systems aimed at improving existing systems in the current governmental departments.

“When we talk about the competition, we talk about nurturing innovation and setting the platform for our young innovators,” Murphy said.

She further explained that the NTRC realises that its obligation to the recent generation ­– referred to as the “born plugged in generation” — is to use them to their advantage to create meaningful avenues to which their being plugged in can be used to foster growth and sustainable development.

“These simple principles are the driving forces behind the inception of the competition which is an attempt on our behalf to tap into the stored potential,” she said.

“We seek to highlight the importance of idea creation and the possibility that can develop from the seeds of innovation that are on the minds of our young people,” Murphy continued.

“There are always new ways of doing things and through this competition, the NTRC hopes to inspire students to find it.”

According to Murphy, if we seek to fix those little cracks within the system by improving the services offered, then there has been some significant development in Vincentian society.

The competition is broken into two categories, she explained — an innovation category, which includes the submission of ideas and that of an application where students will submit an innovative idea in the form of a mobile application.

Students are expected to present solutions to government services only and must be able to show how the government and other state agencies will be able to benefit from the implementation of the mobile application or idea outlined, Murphy explained.

The competition will progress in three phases over a two-month period, she said.

The first phase requires students to provide a summarized description of the idea in the form or a written report; this phase will however, not contribute to the judged scores.

This written report must be submitted to the NTRC by November 22.

In the second phase, students will be required to present detailed descriptions of the idea or mobile application to the judges; this phase will begin on January 13, 2014.

In the final phase, students will be required to present a working prototype of the idea of application for final judging Murphy said.

Twenty-four students will be selected for the final phase and for the chance to win prizes ranging from $3,500 for the first place to $1,000 for third.

The school with the most entries will win $1,000 and each finalist will receive $500.

The competition ends on January 31, 2014.

Apollo Knights, director of the NTRC, said that he believes that the nation’s youth possess the ability to bring about change.

He said that we need to look at government as being in the service industry – selling and offering services to citizens, visitors or external parties.

“If our services do not keep up with global standards, it would affect our country,” he said.

By making local services more efficient, the government can then better compete at the regional and international level.

And according to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade, Commerce and IT Senator Camillo Gonsalves, the idea of creating such a competition is one that he is particularly excited about.

“It is critically important to engage the youth in the development of innovative solutions,” Gonsalves said.

He said that the youth are best adapted to technological innovations and all that was required was to provide the current environment for those innovations to thrive.

According to Gonsalves, while it may be true that there is a large, hard working public service, the speed and convenience of the services provided was less than desirable.

“The trend has been to improve customer service, but there is still too much standing in line, there is still too much running from one building to another to complete a single task and there are still too many seemingly bureaucratic processes,” he said.

“But it is the young people who will ask the questions at some point,” Gonsalves added. (DD)