September saw another highly successful event at Innovate Durban’s annual Youth Innovation Challenge programme. Global engineering, design and advisory company Aurecon was once again one of the main partners of the event. As a co-developer of the programme, Aurecon is judging the projects of young designers, which were focused on GO!Durban, eThekwini’s Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network..
“The objective of Youth Innovation Challenge this year is to give the youth of Durban and surrounding areas an opportunity and platform to find compelling value propositions for new businesses surrounding the GO!Durban project,” says Richard Ahlschlager, Aurecon Technical Director.
Aurecon has been intimately involved since 2012 in the planning, designing and implementing the systems for the project, which include fibre communications network, CCTV monitoring systems, Automated Public Transport Management Systems and Integrated Fare Management Systems.
“There were many highly creative and future-ready entries this year, most notably a single planning and payment system integrated into WhatsApp, and an onboard e-learning and entertainment system,” says Ahlschlager.
Aurecon will be awarding the Tertiary Challenge Trophy and the Woman in Design trophy at the Youth Innovation Challenge Awards in November.
Using design-led thinking to solve African challenges
The Youth Innovation Challenge started in 2014 and Aurecon has been involved with the programme since 2017. Each year, Aurecon co-hosts a design-led thinking workshop to help participants understand the importance of human-centric design. The teams are partnered with a mentor from Aurecon, who helps them further develop their ideas.
“Fusing the creativity of the youth with the technical expertise in our business has helped a number of competition winners receiving support on their innovative concepts. Joining forces with young designers who want to be agents for change in their communities has been very rewarding and Aurecon looks forward to our ongoing partnership with Innovate Durban,” says Kosikee Emma-Iwuoha, an Aurecon Civil Engineer and one of the team’s Young Innovation Design facilitators.
Last year, young designers were tasked with coming up with practical, innovative solutions that eThekwini could implement to eradicate issues that hinder efficiency within of the Port of Durban. In 2017 , designers presented solutions that could help make Durban a more Sustainable City.
“We need to equip our youth with the skills to think big and innovate ground-breaking solutions in response to challenges in our cities, nation and Africa. Together with Innovate Durban, the eThekwini Municipality, Oracle and other stakeholders, Aurecon is investing in the future of the city through teaching the youth the skills they need,” concludes Ahlschlager.