Bold Youth Innovations Take Centerstage in ‘Solutions for Tomorrow’ Finals by Samsung and EdisonKids


Mentors, teams and trainers came together on April 27 to kick-start the Samsung and EdisonKids’ “Solutions for Tomorrow” finals for the top eight teams

What skills do today’s children need to thrive in the future workforce? While the question may seem abstract, the answer is concrete: emotional and social skills, along with independent thinking, are crucial, even more so than knowledge of artificial intelligence. This is underscored by Samsung and EdisonKids’ joint initiative, the “Solutions for Tomorrow” program, according to Rita Veres, co-founder of the Edisonplatform.

The professional landscape is set to undergo radical changes in the coming years, affecting not only tech-dependent roles but also traditional jobs.

“Some surveys indicate that 65% of today’s preschoolers will work in jobs that don’t yet exist,” Veres stated in a press interview in February. But how well is our educational system prepared to handle this challenge?

“Many from Generations X and Y were socialized in an educational system built on principles from the last century. Since the industrial revolution, education has been governed by efficiency and standardization, which has led us to ‘box’ thinking,” Veres warns.

She argues that this old regime has been upended by ongoing changes in the work world, suggesting that the value of factual knowledge will decline, shifting the focus increasingly towards emotional and social competencies, including collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking abilities.

Furthermore, there is a need to foster empathy in children, a sensitivity that helps understand others’ perspectives, and a trait that benefits adults as well.

Digital Nomads

What about the Alpha generation, those born after 2010? Research suggests they may have weaker emotional and social competencies. Some fear these “digital natives” might become isolated as social interactions increasingly move online. Veres does not believe the situation is hopeless but emphasizes the responsibility of both parents and schools.

“The generational topic is a double-edged sword, given the prevalence of generalizations. I think the biggest challenge is strengthening concentration skills, the ability to focus and truly immerse in something. This skill aids not just in learning but also in relaxation. Teaching this to an Alpha generation child is challenging, and the home environment doesn’t always help,” Veres notes.

For her work, she observes families where the digital world completely engulfs children. While it’s difficult to counteract these effects, it’s not impossible, and it’s a collective task involving parents, teachers, schools, and other institutions. This is why she considers the “Solutions for Tomorrow” program a brilliant initiative that heavily relies on participants’ collaboration skills.

In the program, students from grades 7-12 form small teams to conceive, develop, and present ideas that could solve current problems across categories like sustainability, future education, and community. There are no strict content limitations within these categories, allowing a diverse array of entries each year. Younger participants need not worry about being disadvantaged: last year’s gold medal went to a team of 13-year-olds.

The organization phase of the “Solutions for Tomorrow” challenge has now reached a point where the top eight teams have been selected. These teams, committed to advancing education, sustainability, and community development, can begin preparing for the finals.

Prototype Creation

Over the next few weeks, they will create and test prototypes of their ideas with the help of mentors. The students are preparing for the final showdown at the end of May, where the top three teams will receive a total of HUF 6 million worth of Samsung devices to enhance their personal and school resources, according to the firm.

This year’s “Solutions for Tomorrow” challenge participants did not make the selection easy for the professional jury, presenting a range of ingenious ideas. One team from each of Pécs (208 km south of Budapest by road) and Tótkomló (228 km southeast), and six from Budapest have made it to the finals, where they will present their concepts in the last round.

Those focusing on redefining the future of education emphasize using AI-based digital characters to promote learning and reading. Teams fighting for sustainability are developing solutions to replace harmful compound blocks and find innovative uses for Styrofoam. Those focusing on community development are working on supporting the elderly and aligning student housing, digital inclusion for the visually impaired, educational efforts around menstruation, and promoting communal, game-based country exploration.

With another month of preparation left, competitors receive further help through instructional videos to refine their developing concepts. The students’ progress is supported by presentation training and two mentors per team, who provide feedback and insights for the finals.

The top eight teams met in person with other competitors and their mentors on April 27, not only to celebrate their advancement but to participate in a communication and presentation training by the Momentán Association. With six weeks to go, they have the opportunity to realize their ideas in prototype form and package their visions in a creative, compelling manner.

At the May 31 final, the jury will evaluate presentations based on creativity, critical thinking, feasibility, prototype functionality, presentation skills, and team spirit. Teams can also gain additional points through the thoroughness of their research and the execution of their projects.

The top team will be able to select Samsung devices worth HUF 1.2 mln for themselves, HUF 1 mln for their school, and HUF 500,000 for their teacher, with similar but decreasing amounts allocated to the second and third-placed teams.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of May 6, 2024.

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