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This blog was originally posted on the news page of the RSA Student Design Awards website on 4th August 2014.

I am pleased to announce that nine emerging Malaysian innovators have won in the inaugural RSA Genovasi Malaysia Awards, winning a range of prizes worth a total of RM260,000. In addition, the winners all receive admission into Genovasi’s Innovation Ambassador Development Programme, complementary RSA Fellowship for a year, providing the students with access to the RSA’s Catalyst Fund and Skills Bank to further develop their projects.

The RSA Student Design Awards team partnered with Genovasi, a transformative learning institution focused on cultivating innovation skills in young people to develop and deliver the RSA Genovasi Malaysia Awards, which launching in September 2013. Genovasi offers a human-centred learning experience to learn and use innovation for social inclusion, active citizenship and personal development for future transferable skills to face challenges in life. The RSA Genovasi Malaysia Awards focused on three project briefs for this pilot year: Active Citizens, Encouraging Social Entrepreneurship, and Citizenship and Communication in a Digital Age.

RSA Genovasi Malaysia AwardsThe flagship RSA programme aims to empower university students the world over to develop solutions to pressing social, environmental and economic issues using the principles of Design Thinking. The RSA has offered the RSA Student Design Awards to university students from all faculties in the United Kingdom and around the world since 1924. In 2012, the RSA launched its first Student Design Awards in the United States. The RSA Genovasi Malaysia Awards marks the third country in the world and first country in Asia to hold the competition. Carol Wong, Chief Inspiration Officer of Genovasi said,

“As we celebrate the second anniversary of Genovasi, we are delighted by the responses from talented young Malaysians for the competition. Using the human-centred Design Thinking methodology, the participants were able to gain deeper insights in order to solve complex challenges. The panel of judges was impressed by the standard and variety of the submissions, showcasing the innovative capabilities of Malaysians.”

The winning project for the Active Citizens brief was the “MyEdvisor” project, submitted by a team of local university students, Adam Malik, Brandon Khoo and Crystal Ng. MyEdvisor is an education and careers website which redesigns and personalises the online education platform for students by tailoring and customising pathways based on preferences of each individual user. The website is touted as “for students, by students”, featuring content by fellow Malaysian university students from around the world. The team behind the MyEdvisor project said,

“It is encouraging to know that Genovasi and the RSA believe in the MyEdvisor initiative. We entered because we believed that there was a social problem that needed solving, and the competition was a platform to bring an overlooked issue to light. We wanted to create a website that understands the student experience from start to end.  Hopefully, MyEdvisor will be able to help students get to where they want to go.”

Meanwhile, the winning team for the Social Entrepreneurship brief comprised of students Mandy Choong, Lee Man Kit, Kim Eunkyun, Goh Pei Hua and Yong Lee Chee. Their project, “Weekend Heroes”, is a non-profit organisation which encourages the public to take part in social enterprises and activities during the weekends.

Mandy Choong commented, “We submitted our “Weekend Heroes” project just to try our luck; we never thought we would win! It was definitely unexpected but we are very happy to have won. Given this opportunity, we hope to be able to move ahead with our project.”

The winner of the Digital Age brief was Daniel Chua with the “mySearch Apps” project, which addresses communication gaps between the Government and the public. mySearch Apps is designed to be a search engine as well as a report application for citizens to communicate with the Government, with a variety of innovative functions and features to facilitate the process. According to Daniel Chua,

“I have actually faced this issue before, as have many others, and I was always looking at how we can improve this. Winning this competition is the best gift I have ever received and I am very thankful my idea was recognised! With support, I am aiming to turn my proposal into reality and implement this project in order to contribute to the community.”

Carol Wong added, “Our sincere congratulations to the winners. It is indeed heartening to see that Malaysia’s youth are keen to develop meaningful solutions to the multi-faceted issues which we are faced with today. We hope that they will continue to nurture their Design Thinking skills and become active advocates for positive change in our society.”

Genovasi is Malaysia’s only Design Thinking School and regional partner of the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) School of Design Thinking at Potsdam University, Germany. The HPI School of Design Thinking is a sister institute of the d.school at Stanford University, USA. Genovasi has been up and running since February 2013.

For more information about the RSA Student Design Awards, including our international work, please visit our website here.

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