• Students reach the final of Fujitsu’s ‘Operation Innovation’ competition

3rd December 2020

Students at South Devon College have taken part in Operation Innovation, a competition run by international tech company Fujitsu, and successfully reached the finals.

Chloe Gunbie, Amber Penwarden, Emily Bradley, and Patrick Causley are working together as a team to claim victory with a new idea.

Covid-19 has created real disruption within Education. The most obvious shift has been the drastically increased use of Teams, Zoom, and similar to deliver virtual classroom teaching. But one of the less noticeable consequences of Covid-19 is that students are isolated from opportunities to engage with employers, gain work experience, and develop key future skills.

Disruption to the Education Sector

Operation Innovation was originally established to make Fujitsu’s technical expertise more accessible to the next generation of bright minds, and co-create the next big technology innovation. But this year, it has taken on extra significance as a way to provide crucial project based learning opportunities and tech industry contact – virtually.

Virtual Industry Engagement

During the competition, Fujitsu support teams of four students from their Education Ambassador Partner institutions have been tasked to create a prototype idea for an inventive new technology solution. The finalists ultimately present this Proof of Concept “Dragon’s Den” style to an expert Fujitsu panel (through Microsoft Teams) – with one team being crowned the 2020 winner.

For 2020, Fujitsu have challenged the learners to tackle a problem in the increasingly hard-pressed Healthcare or Education sectors. These topics were selected in particular this year as human-centric innovation is an incredibly important part of Fujitsu’s Technology and Service Vision – it’s vital that we use our collective expertise to tackle society’s biggest challenges. Students will also need to apply AI and robotics concepts as part of the challenge, taking inspiration from exciting recent use-cases.

Developing Digital Skills

As part of the programme, the Fujitsu Education team deliver “Tech and Business 101” workshops, giving some of the 16 year-old students their first insight into working for a leading IT organisation, and unique practical skills and experience that will enrich their applications to specialist jobs, apprenticeships, or further education. Project based learning such as this gives students a much richer interaction with curriculum beyond the textbook.

As one of the 8 finalist teams, College students Chloe, Amber, Emily, and Patrick will now need to prepare to present their idea in a 15-minute pitch to a panel of Fujitsu specialists like Dragon’s Den on the 7th December, where the winning team will be crowned and receive state of the art Fujitsu LIFEBOOK devices to aid their future study.

We look forward to seeing how they get on and being able to share their creative solution to a big problem after we know the results.

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