By Elizabeth Lee
A TEAM of students from Borris Vocational School has just scooped the overall prize in this year’s Big Idea competition, a programme that encourages participants to think creatively to solve the world’s problems, while a second team from Borris VS also received an award, so impressed were the judges with their big ideas.
Team Community Cara won the overall award, having journeyed through the 14-week problem-solving programme, exploring the issue of hidden poverty and developing a solution with potential for real social impact. They developed an idea for an app to support people living in poverty in Ireland to help connect them with local support.
The school’s second winner was Team Cabhrú. They worked on developing a comprehensive multilingual website for the Displaced People category to support refugees to Ireland and offer information on education, housing and employment as well as a guide to help them settle in. Throughout the programme, both teams worked closely with teacher Jacqueline Sheil.
“We’re delighted, absolutely thrilled!” Jacqueline told ***The Nationalist***. “It’s an excellent programme, very professional and very well resourced. The students learn to work collaboratively and find out their strengths and weaknesses, and learn to research their ideas. It’s an excellent programme.”
The winners were announced last Friday at the end-of-year online Big Showcase. Students were tasked with working through the four Ds of the creative process – discover, define, develop and deliver – focusing on solutions for issues they identified as major stressors in their lives. These were mental health, climate change, hidden poverty, displaced people and diversity and inclusion, all aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With the help of hundreds of Big Idea mentors from a range of sectors, they develop a digital experience, product, service, space or place, or a tech solution to tackle that issue.
Kim Mackenzie Doyle from Leighlinbridge is the founder and CEO of The Big Idea. Kim is an award-winning industrial designer who used to lecture in IT Carlow, now South East Technological University.
“A massive congratulations to all of the students across the 22 counties who have journeyed through the 2023 programme. They have learned transformative creative skills, and thanks to the help of our industry mentors they can continue to think big and use creative thinking to solve problems and develop solutions, whether in life, college or work.”
The winners, along with a selection of Big Ideas from the programme, will go on to take part in a Big Idea accelerator in September. The Big Exhibition, which includes every project submitted this year, is now live at thebigidea.ie, where schools and mentors can also sign up for the next term.