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Youths work to digitise economics of transportation system

Shanjida Hossain | Published: November 21, 2019 00:36:49 | Updated: November 27, 2019 21:56:34


The winners of Banglalink Ennovators 3.0 -- Irfan Uddin, Shahriar Raihan Sakib, Ferdows Abid Chowdhury and Farah Tasnim (from left to right) -- along with the Speaker of Bangladesh Parliament Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury (third from left)

Innovation in its true essence means new ideas, creative thoughts, and new imagination. It is one of the most vital tools to survive in a competitive world today. In addition, innovation is also perceived as the application of better solutions that meet both the new and existing market requirements. With the aid of these original ideas and strategies, people can reach the root of the problem and pluck it out. For an innovation to be successful people need to be effective, analytical and excellent; they need to 'ennovate'.

'Banglalink Ennovators 3.0', one of the flagship events of Banglalink Digital, was launched following the success of its first two editions. This year Team Silver Lining, consisting of Irfan Uddin, a student at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka, Ferdows Abid Chowdhury and Shahriar Raihan Sakib--both studying at Bangladesh University of Professionals, and Farah Tasnim, a student at East West University emerged as the winners of the competition. They will now get the opportunity to visit Banglalink's parent company, VEON's headquarters in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

To know more about their ideas, Shanjida Hossain interviewed the winners to know their experiences and involvement with Banglalink Ennovators 2019.

Question (Q): Walk us through your idea in the final round. How did you come up with the innovation?

Shahriar: We were given the task to design a digital ecosystem targeting the major cities of Bangladesh. Throughout the competition, we learnt a lot about idea generation and problem solving. Using those lessons, we tried to identify the major problems that currently exist and find a suitable solution. Almost instantly, the first thing that came to our mind was the current condition of our transportation system.

The number of accidents is increasing day by day and we all had lost someone we knew due to this. To solve this, we have to make sure that both the vehicles and the drivers who operate on a daily basis are qualified to run on the road. Hence, we came up with the idea of monitoring vehicle fitness and drivers' performance.  And thankfully with the help of our ever so helpful mentors, we were able to transform this idea into an implementable business plan.

Q: Since your team was randomly formed by the organisers, did you encounter any challenge? What factors played a role in the successful team formation?

Ferdows: The first thing that comes to mind when we are part of a randomised team is that, how the other members are and where they study. Since two among the four of us are friends from the university, we didn't face much difficulties working as a team. The only challenge we had to face was the four of us could not meet when we wanted to because of different class timings and locations. Other than that everything was fine. The factor that played the biggest role was the understanding among the four of us and each of us knew what we were good at and that was how we divided our roles.

Q: What was your experience of Ennovators 3.0, especially the grand finale?

Ferdows: The experience of the entire journey of Ennovators 3.0 was great. We were actually amazed to see what Banglalink could do to treat the young minds. There was a lot of pressure to pull off the second round and especially the semi finals. But the pressure of the grand finale was exceptional. All of us were nervous because it was the first time for the three of us presenting in a big platform like that.

Q: How excited are you about flying to Amsterdam and visiting the headquarters of VEON? Are you looking forward to particularly learning something new?

Irfan: For anyone who has participated in Ennovators, getting to fly to Amsterdam was the ultimate prize and we turned out to be fortunate enough. For a second year student like me, getting to meet the global leaders at Veon HQ, gaining valuable insights and feedback regarding our idea will be a huge learning opportunity.

Q: How is Ennovators different from other typical business competitions of our country?

Irfan: In any other business competition, you get to work with your preferred teammates and existing templates. But Ennovators is a different ball game. In each round except the final, teams are shuffled and you have to adjust accordingly while catering to each other's strengths. But what really sets Ennovators apart is the pressure cooker round at BRAC CDM, Savar where we had to come up with our idea within 36 hours. But in those 36 hours we had insightful workshops, great foods and dance sessions, making the entire journey an amazing learning experience.

The interviewer Shanjida Hossain is a second year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. She can be reached at shanjida7f@gmail.com

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