It was such a pleasure and a privilege, to be part of #ymic (Young Minds Innovation Challenge) conducted by KCG and Enchanter.
Their energy was clearly in evidence in the exhibit hall. The students were pitching to every one interested in listening and their enthusiasm was infectious. One of my roles as a judge (along with two others) was to walk around and talk to these young innovators. It was probably two of the most enjoyable days I spent.
Some of them (mostly the school students) were bold and eager. Some of them (mostly college students) were shy. Some were super confident. They had this look – “we are going to change the world”. A kid from Chettinad Vidyashram, was telling me about his product Algenol. He is actually going to US to present his project.
Moms rock. I saw one patient mom sitting next to her son, handing him things to show to visitors, getting him lunch during the break and encouraging him. She was there both the days of the event, untiring and always smiling. She was proud of her son and she had good reason to.
I think families make such a big difference. I am sure behind every one of these young innovators is a family member – a mom, a dad or a grand parent giving them encouragement and support.
The unsung heroes were the teachers. Those who were present – from DAV, Chennai Public School were there throughout the event – dedicated, tireless, helping and guiding their students. These students were well organized with their models, their posters and were extremely articulate.
“Sir we added blue tooth support overnight”, said the 7th grader from Chennai Public School. They were demonstrating an Ironing Robot (to press clothes). These kids were amazing. They start their robotics training pretty early (at 4th grade) with Lego Mindstorms. All the kids I met were either 7th or 8th graders. One of the youngest programmer I have met from that school programs in “Embedded C’ and won programming competitions.
The organizer of the event – Gautam is an innovator, himself. He is also a budding entrepreneur. He is a student from KCG College of Technology and worked on an innovation cell project funded by Department of Science and Technology. People like him are a source of inspiration for many of us who run these innovation programs.
We had to pick a few winners and give them awards. However, I feel that every one the participants, the parents who encouraged them, and the teachers and institutions that helped them are all winners. We just need to find a way to help them all.