There are many challenges in providing education and healthcare in the Canadian North, as my colleague Jeff Seifert has discussed, and we asked students to propose innovative technology solutions for them. Think of it like “Dragons Den” for Social Entrepreneurs.
It was an eye-opening experience for the students. Many were surprised by the degree of the geographic, infrastructure, and cultural challenges they faced in coming up with their solution. On the positive side, they were surprised at the type of Cisco technologies that already existed and could be integrated into their solution.
Most of the teams came up with a solution that combined community outreach, a service management organization, and a technical solution. It was a good lesson that a widget doesn’t solve most real-world problems.
The winning team was “WISE +1” – the judges were impressed with their analysis of the situation and their proposal to combine the community, services and a Cisco product deployment into a solution called “Cisco Community Manager.”
Overall the level of the presentations put forth by the teams impressed the judges – it is inspirational to see how great the next generation of engineers and scientists are going to be!