In 2018, I, along with my teammate Suvigya Vijay participated in Go Green in the City 2018. The event gave us the opportunity to network with Schneider Electric’s top leadership who provided us insights to develop our idea further and meet some incredibly talented and motivated people.
We emerged as India Winners and represented our country in Global Finals. The global finale of the event was hosted in Atlanta which turned out to be one of the most exciting and inspiring experiences of my life. Are you still wondering, what’s this competition all about? Let me explain it to you.
What’s Go Green in the City?
Go Green in the City is a premier student competition, centered around energy solutions that are sustainable and efficient. It is an annual, flagship event of Schneider Electric where students get to solve real-world business challenges related to energy management and environmental sustainability.
Imagine working on a solution that can become fundamental in empowering sustainable cities! The sheer thought of contributing to a greater good is so fulfilling.
Some perks of participating in the competition are: A chance to win a fully funded International Trip, amazing networking opportunities with the folks from Schneider Electric and not to miss mentioning, a chance to bag job offers from the organization. 😀
So, now that I have your attention, I’d like to take you through my journey in the competition, and maybe, this could be of some use to you when you embark on yours 🙂
Summer 2018 – I was in Bombay working on my internship project when I discovered this amazing competition on Studentcompetitons.com. I had this bug of participating in case competitions for the thrill of coming up with something innovative in a sector you might be working on for the first time in your life. So me, an aspiring consultant, asked my techie friend at BITS Pilani if he’d be interested in finding solutions that can make our cities greener and sustainable? He, a bit intrigued by the challenge agreed to pitch in!
Our main goal was to figure out potential problems in our society today, where there is scope for great innovation. We pin pointed one such area to be ‘Waste Management’.
From then began a series of ‘Woah can’t believe we made it this far’. For the shortlisting round we were supposed to submit a three-slide pitch deck (Suggestion: Don’t overstuff the slides and create a storyline i.e. Problem->Idea->Impact) and then there was a grueling presentation round for top 40 participants. I don’t know how exactly it happened but we did make it to India top-8 J.
So, remember at this point the innovation and impact you reflect in your concept is more important than the extent of execution. The clarity of thought you carry and impact you can create would generate greater value.
Our aim was to make the waste segregation and utilization process incentive driven and automated. This idea was still it’s in infancy stages when we met our mentor Sharath Sirivolu – Director – Software Development at Schneider Electric India. To this day, I am grateful to Sharath because his insights and guidance helped us understand the problem in much greater depths and even the impact that we can push through our solution.
From there began countless brainstorming sessions on what technologies to use for segregation, the business model, potential customers, inefficiencies in existing process and more
India Finals had top leadership from Schneider Electric India judging our ideas. Both of us were a bit nervous and were trying to keep our cool for the main presentation round. Meanwhile we also saw some great ideas being presented by teams from top tech and B-schools.
After we won the India Regionals: Our next mentor Gilles Anger – Innovate Process Leader – Schneider Electric exposed us to concepts in market research and customer outreach.
To add another dimension to our idea, we even connected with Arindam Sen, SVP and CIO- International Operations, Cloud and Connectivity, Schneider Electric. His mentorship was fundamental in realising the impact that our idea of waste management could create in the smart city movement in India. That was the first time we could see our idea taking shape beyond the competition into something that solves a crucial social problem.
These 2–3 months felt like we were working on developing our own enterprise. Now was the time to present this idea at Schneider’s innovation summit in Atlanta.
Our Atlanta Trip: Hot Pot of excitement, nervous jitters, awe-inspiring ideas and friendships 🙂
We were quite lucky that 2018’s Go Green in the City competition was partook along with Schneider Electric’s Innovation Summit, where the industry leader showcases its latest products and solutions.
The entire ambiance & environment at the summit put into perspective the vision that Schneider Electric has for tomorrow, how smart energy solutions are going to reform existing systems. When you step in our shoes this year, remember even if all this might sound a bit overwhelming it is at the same time extremely encouraging. Opportunities like this are extremely rare and getting them so early in your career can accelerate your professional and personal growth. So make sure you make the best use of this 🙂
Then came the D-Day, we presented our idea to a panel of judges comprising of Schneider’ Electric’s top executives and VCs (Past: Budding Entrepreneur Alert! Who knows this might be your shot 😀). Although the results weren’t announced, at that point, I think at that point to most of us what mattered was the opportunity to present and to listen to many of these game changing ideas from other contestants!
We concluded the night by some golfing session at Top Golf (Irrelevant detail alert : Suvigya killed it in his first time and I tried a bit here and there haha), that night also marked a celebration of the tremendous efforts some of us had put in for the competition and the friendships we built through the event. This was followed by a city tour next day and an amazing experience at the Coco-Cola Factory.
To Endings and new beginnings!
The graduation ceremony held on the following day, was a sad-happy affair. We were bidding goodbyes to all our participant friends from across the world with the promise of meeting again.
Zvirevo Chisadza and Tariro Cynthia Mutsindikwa were announced as the winners of Go Green in the City 2018, their game changing idea was about boosting crop production by building organic photo-voltaic greenhouse systems. For all of us, competing against 24000 students from around 163 nations gave us great exposure in building an idea from scratch and bringing it into reality.
On a personal level, Go Green in the City goes beyond simply being a business case competition, it helps you realize the importance of taking up compelling social challenges and to devise solutions of the future. A superlative experience, with lasting memories and experiences to cherish for the lifetime.
In case you are reading this and are eligible to participate, I advocate that you should not miss this chance and put your best foot forward. Who knows yours can be the next path breaking idea.
If you want to know more about Go Green in the City 2019, visit https://gogreeninthecity.se.com/en/challenges/gogreeninthecity
Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn for any queries, I’d be happy to answer them 🙂
Written by Shivani Singh (Guest Blogger)