The Bright Ideas Challenge

The challenge tasked young people with using the NXplorers methodology to come up with real-life, innovative and sustainable solutions to the food, water and energy issues in their local areas.

To encourage participation, the Shell NXplorers team travelled around the Philippines from April through August to conduct a series of workshops at 25 different schools. These workshops introduced students to the NXplorers programme and got them excited about the potential to win ₱100,000 towards their STEM education fund!

From the 25 schools that took part in the workshops, 18 of them proceeded to take part in the competition, which is a huge testament to the efforts of the NXplorers team who facilitated each of the events.

As part of their submissions, students had to present their ideas with a three-minute video based on the Persuasion Pyramid Tool, explaining which of the other NXplorers tools they used in the development of their action plans. Schools then sent their top two submissions to the judging committee, who selected the top 10 teams to enter the final phase of the challenge, held in Manila.

The final event

The finalists travelled from across the country to pitch their projects to the judging panel at the Mind Museum, a science museum in Taguig City. The teams had to use the Persuasion Pyramid tool to present their project, each doing so in their own unique way. Some teams presented through video presentations or prototype demonstrations, and some even did it through song and dance!

Once the finalists had presented and answered questions from the panel, the Country Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Shell Philippines, Cesar Romero, engaged the teams in a conversation on the important role that young people can play in ensuring the security of food, water and energy for future generations.

“Young people today are vital to ensuring the security of these resources tomorrow,” said Cesar Romero, Shell Companies in the Philippines’ country chairman. “At Shell, we believe that by teaching the youth how to critically identify and solve problems, they will be better equipped as future leaders and positive agents of change.”

Image: NXplorers teams at The Bright Ideas Challenge 2019

NXplorers Impact

The projects submitted into The Bright Ideas Challenge show that young people, when equipped with thinking tools and complex problem-solving skills, can bring about positive change. Through the use of NXthinking and relevant tools, students were able to come up with innovative and sustainable solutions which could possibly be scaled up, ranging from an aerial drone that can spray crops with fertiliser, to a smart watering system that detects soil moisture and sends users a text message.

The process enabled them to take responsibility for their learning, work with others, integrate learnings from different subject areas and apply them to real-life problems, proving that skills developed through NXplorers go beyond the programme.

“The skills developed in NXplorers (critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication) equip young people with skills for the jobs of tomorrow. They also enable them to adapt to a rapidly changing world, preparing them to tackle the complex challenges of our times and become leaders of the future.”

Monaleizl Dy, Pilipina Shell Foundation

The winning team

Team Nx-US were crowned as the winners of the grand prize for their Smart Watering System project, which is an automatic irrigation system that waters soil with the specific amount of water needed by the plant, based on its soil moisture content, and sends the user an SMS once the plant has been watered. The team took home the grand prize of ₱100,000 and another ₱100,000 for the improvement of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) strand under the K to 12 programmes of the Department of Education.

“I think that even if we can’t take over the world, we can change it. Change it enough to make sure that the world will be there for someone in the future. It means more water and more food using clean energy for everyone,” said Agnes Ysabel Gana of Team NX-US.

The team also won the People’s Choice Award and received P5,000 on the competition’s online voting system. (Mardy R. Cabral/OMNHS)

Image: Grand prize winners 'Team NX-US' from Oriental Mindoro National High School. Their entry was a smart watering system that detects soil moisture content and sends users a text message with crop data

Image: First place winners 'Team Marigold' from Gusa Regional Science High School (CDO). Their entry was a handheld generator that produces energy by utilizing heat difference through the Seebeck effect


Image: Second place winners 'Team Agribon' from Philippine Science High School (Cagayan Valley). Their entry was an aerial drone that can water and spray crops with fertilizer


Merit Awards (not pictured):

  • Team Antipara from Bansud national High School. Their entry was a low-cost portable sensing device for identifying micro-plastics in seas
  • Team -A from RTPM Dumaguete Science High School. Their entry was a multifunctional sensor using bimetallic thermostat and timer switch for irrigation purposes

You can watch the Award Ceremony video on Youtube here.

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