Ring, ring!! My alarm rang. It was 5:00 am already?
I rushed out of bed to the bathroom to have my bath and prepare for the journey ahead. After I had worn my cloth and eaten the food I cooked yesternight, I dashed out to the motor park where we had agreed to converge.
This was me exactly 3 weeks ago!
You must have been thinking, "Which journey? We?"
It's my journey to the PAADC 5.0.
The Professor Ayodele Awojobi Design Competition - PAADC is an annual competition for undergraduates in all tertiary institutions in Nigeria. The competition is designed to foster disruptive and innovative ideas in any of the following categories: Agriculture, Education, Essential Services, Healthcare and Environmental Sustainability.
This year’s edition (PAADC 5.0) was divided into three qualifying stages with the last stage being the final. Fortunately, I was able to attend the program - all thanks to my school’s chapter of the National Union of Engineering Students’ Association (NUESA). They sponsored my transport as well as the other three persons who are executives. The four of us travelled together to the event.
I have been a (virtual) volunteer for PAADC for about two editions now. I volunteered in the Media and Publicity department where I assisted in trending e-flyers pertaining to the event on social media.
Thanks to the expertise of the driver, we were able to evade traffic jams on the ever-busy Lagos-Ibadan expressway. After about 3 hours, here I was at the PAADC 5.0 Grand Finale – the last stage - held at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, Nigeria.
The first section of the program was a Panel Section discussion on "Investing in the Next Generation: Maximizing Undergraduate’s Ingenuity into Innovative Processes". About four persons from different walks of life gracefully dished out their ideas pertaining to the topic. After the section, questions were asked, and answers were given.
Then the section which we all have been waiting for commenced.
First, the finalist teams were introduced, each of them representing each category of the competition. As I can recall, Team Fitcon, Team Rawmac, Team Assured and Team Peddle-Ilabs. Team PEDDLE-ILABS worked on revolutionary fitness concept; RAWMAC, on plastic wastes recycling; ASSURED, on upscaling incubators to be able to run on different sources such as biogas, solar, etc. After the introduction, the teams re-pitched their ideas as well as showcased their respective prototypes to support their idea(s).
Careful and scrupulous judges were present to listen and score the teams as they pitched their ideas. They were asked questions to be answered in the latter part of the section. This was the round I knew something about public speaking such that it would entail being able to convince your audience.
After all the teams were done selling themselves, they were one after the other- called to the stage to answer the questions earlier given to them. From their answers, more technical questions were asked and sored accordingly. To answer these questions well, you must have done a series of ardent research and experimentations on your idea.
Then, we had a break which I believe was to enable the judges to carefully do their maths and make decisions.
During the break, I networked with some other attendees, one of whom was a final year student of Mechanical Engineering at the school. We discussed issues ranging from politics to tech. One thing led to the other and he mentioned a tangible idea which we agreed to work on in partnership. Do you know what birthed that? Networking!!
Soon, the break ended and it’s about to go down!!
Over to the judges; each of the three judges took turns to applaud the teams over their general idea, composure and all. Then the chairman of the judges took on the note to announce the winner – everywhere was silent and tensed, you could almost hear the sound of a pin dropped!
The Chairman took the mic from its stand and held it jealously…….
He painstakingly read out the first and second runner-ups, each team came on stage to receive their prizes and handshakes. I believe you are anxious to know the first place winner as I was too then.
The Chairman, with his baritone, said “And the winner of PAADC 5.0 is .....”
Who do you think is going to win? Who?
"TEAM RAWMAC !!!!!"
I knew it! Their idea, so far, was the most spectacular. The team worked on an innovation aimed at recycling plastic waste materials and processing them into synthetic wood for woodworks. This solution in the long run kills two birds with a stone. The first is the reduction of environmental pollution through plastic wastes. And environmental preservation whereby the number of trees cut down would decrease due to the availability of a better alternative – synthetic wood.
It was such a great experience to witness idea pitching in real life as opposed to the ones I have been watching online. It really meant a lot to me as I learned a lot about the ideation and presentation of novel ideas. In my subsequent endeavors, I am confident that the skills I learnt will prove to be priceless.
I strongly believe soon enough, I’d be on a stage pitching one of the awesome ideas revolving in my brain over the years!
Anticipating PAADC 6.0!