NEXT Innovation national champions; Saving lives on Australian beaches through technology

28 October 2016: A team of QUT engineering, business and design students pitched a low cost innovation solution featuring thermal imaging cameras, machine vision and drones to help extend safe zones on Australian beaches to CSIRO, Westpac, Deloitte and IAG judges.

Following a 12 week ‘lean launchpad’ accelerator experience, teams from NSW, Victoria and Queensland today pitched innovation concepts as part of NEXT – Australia’s student innovation accelerator.

Marrang Mai (Beach eye) won the NEXT National Grand Final for their concept to ‘use thermal camera and machine vision technology to expand beach safety monitoring zones and lifesaver effectiveness’.

The winning Queensland University of Technology (QUT) team said, they were thrilled to win the National Grand Finals and get valuable feedback from the judges. The team of Ceri Atherton, Josephine Murphy, Sean Wade-McCue, Sushant Chawla and Thinh Ho were mentored by Deloitte’s Krissy O’Farell and Gary Dishman.

Stuart Obsorne, Partner (Tax) for Deloitte, commented: “It’s energising to see and hear the students’ unique and innovative ideas. It’s a fabulous program that provides recognition and opportunity to students and a lot of inspiration to mentors and judges.”
Danielle Handley, Head of Strategy & Business Operations for IAG; “Fantastic quality from the NEXT program student teams, and thrilled to have been a part of it – some investible ideas that speak to social good as well as economic potential.”

NEXT is an intensive 12-week accelerator program, where students and mentors are guided by industry facilitators through the innovation process. The program has already been embedded into significant experiential learning and innovation programs at partner Universities including the University of Sydney, Queensland University of Technology, Swinburne University and University of South Australia.

NEXT is managed by Sydney based experiential education startup Intersective. Intersective’s ‘project learning’ platform, Practera, helps all parties collaborate and stay on track – delivering thousands of datapoints to enhance learning, track performance and improve outcomes.

In 2016, NEXT teams delivered more than 70 innovation concepts with the support of more than 100 industry and entrepreneurial mentors. Some of the other standout ideas from the NEXT program included;

ShopConnect – an online platform and network connecting small businesses to share shop space and labour to reduce their major costs to increase profit margins.
The Originals Project – an ethical art sourcing fashion label which gives Indigenous artists the opportunity to integrate their artwork into apparel for the youth market.
YoungMoney – a gamified financial literacy program to build literacy amongst 16-26 year olds through an interactive online educational platform.
A.R.C.S. ‘suture of the future’ – a medical advanced rapid closure system that increases the efficiency in suturing wound closure.
Be there VR – a mechanism for charities to build emotional connectivity to global issues through Virtual Reality.

Beau Leese, the creator of NEXT, co-founder & CEO of Intersective and an ex Head of Strategy for CSIRO, articulated the value of the program: “Last year a Chief Scientist’s October 2015 report into entrepreneurship training in universities found examples of great University programs, but overall too few applied entrepreneurship programs operating at large scale. We want to provide a common platform for business and Universities to collaborate to lift the innovation skills of thousands of students and industry participants every year. We look forward to seeing the program grow and develop in 2017.”

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