Inspire and Innovate

  • Source: Corporate Social Investment & Philanthropy
  • Article Date: 22/11/2017

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What happens when you introduce the topic of oil and gas to Form One and Two students and ask them to create an innovative product or solution prototype related to the industry?

In the case of 30 participants of the Brilliant Young Minds (BYM) programme, a Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiative of PETRONAS ICT, they demonstrated a keen understanding of the subject and were able to pitch unique ideas.

The students, comprising 13 and 14 year olds from Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Damansara Jaya (SMK DJ) and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Seksyen 7, Shah Alam (SMK S7) graduated from BYM on 30 September 2017, after eight months of immersion in the programme.

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The Brilliant Young Minds participants (pictured here with mentors from PETRONAS ICT)demonstrated a keen understanding of the subject of oil and gas and were able to pitch unique ideas.

Under the guidance of mentors from PETRONAS ICT and subject matter experts from the PETRONAS businesses, the teens pitted their innovative ideas at a finale showcase held at Petrosains in Suria KLCC recently. Some 200 attendees comprising parents, family members, teachers, judges and mentors were present at the showcase.

A New Generation of Innovators

Launched on 4 November 2016, BYM leverages on PETRONAS ICT’s core competencies in digital innovation, ICT knowledge and skills to help the young participants learn robotics and embedded programming.

“The programme promotes critical and creative thinking to help our youth consider opportunities that solve real-world issues, as well as improve their communication skills and build confidence when pitching ideas,” said PETRONAS ICT Chief Executive Officer Redza Goh.

BYM exposes the students to basic Scratch programming, Arduino electronics, higher-order thinking and communication skills over two semesters (eight months). Each semester ends with a showcase at which the students present their digital innovation projects.

Solving Real-World Issues

For the first showcase on 6 May 2017, the students created projects that demonstrated their basic programming and circuitry knowledge. In the second showcase, they came up with oil and gas-themed projects that highlighted their ability to think critically, manage projects that solve real-world issues and communicate confidently.

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Team Adventurous from Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Damansara Jaya presented their project titled 'Rig Adventure' to the panel of judges.

The judges were impressed with what the students had to offer.
The students rose to the occasion by showcasing inventive use of technology and novel approaches towards problem-solving." - Dr Daniel Loy Hui Siang, Director of Centre of Learning and Innovation, Petrosains.
I think the quality of [their] ideas [and] presentation was outstanding, considering the fact that they are only in Form One and Two and, for many of them, this is their first exposure to Arduino and programming." - Sumitra Nair, Vice-President, Talent Development and Digital Entrepreneurship for Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).
​​​​Other judges included Rozana Yaakub, Head of Group Change Management, Corporate Strategy, PETRONAS; Johan Affendi Johan Shah Steven, Business Chief Information Officer (BCIO) for Corporate Business ICT, PETRONAS ICT; and Wan Norimah Megat Ahmad, General Manager of Account and Service Management, PETRONAS ICT.

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Inventive Use of Technology

The judges picked the “Grab & Go” project by team Honesty of SMK S7 as the champion for their ‘product replenishment’ solution aimed at the retail shops located at petrol stations. Their invention sends an alert to a mobile app when a product is no longer on the shelf, ensuring that top-selling products are always available. The team ‘blew the judges away’ with their successful demonstration of the prototype, which they created in two weeks.

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Champion​​ Team Honesty of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Seksyen 7, Shah Alam (from left: Ainin Sofiya bt Mohd Shaharum, Eqhwan Tirmidzi Bin Mohd Rashidee and Amir Hakimi) posed with Brilliant Young Minds sponsor and PETRONAS ICT General Manager, BF - Operational Excellence Lisa Chan.

Second place went to team Efficient of SMK DJ, who created the “Hand Pumper” fuel pump that discourages drivers from fiddling with their mobile phones while filling up their fuel tanks. Customers had to use both hands to fill up the fuel tanks – by making a pumping motion on the fuel pump (similar to giving a chest compression while performing a cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR) – thus, eliminating distractions that could lead to explosions and creating a safer petrol station experience for all.​

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Team Efficient of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Damansara Jaya (from left: Isaac Tan Jay Hanz, Thaddeus Tay Tze and Rasheevan Nair) received their prize for second place and certificates from Brilliant Young Minds sponsor and PETRONAS ICT General Manager, BF - Operational Excellence Lisa Chan.

​​Team Honesty of SMK DJ won third place for their “Phone Buster” project, which is a detector that blinks and bleeps when a mobile phone signal is detected near the fuel pump. This invention also aims to deter customers from using their mobile phones while filling up their petrol tanks.​

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Third-place winner Team Honesty of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Damansara Jaya (from left: Zakiy Muayyad Bin Zadil Hanief, Chua Pek Yzin and Ng Yee Cheng) posed with Brilliant Young Minds sponsor and PETRONAS ICT General Manager, BF - Operational Excellence Lisa Chan.

Other innovations included an interactive oil drilling model, a shoplifting alarm and an external emergency fuel tank.

From Strength to Strength

The digital innovation projects that the students produced bear testimony to the personal growth they experienced throughout their BYM journey. Parents and mentors noted the progress participants made since joining BYM at the beginning of the year.

“[Thaddeus] no longer depends on us in getting what he wants. He would go online and be more independent in finding solutions.” - Lim Linda and Tay Chee Wee, parents of Thaddeus Tay Tze.​​​
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Thaddeus Tay Tze (second from right) is passionate about robotics and was thrilled to have the opportunity to explore Arduino. He is pictured here with his parents Tay Chee Wee and Linda Lim.

"[Eqhwan] is a shy kid so I am proud to see how well he presented in public and worked in a team. We admire his dedication to researching on his solution.” - Halimaton Khalid, mother of Eqhwan Tirmidzi Mohd Rashidee.​​
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Being part of the last team to present, Eqhwan (pictured here with his mother Halimaton Khalid) managed to control his nerves to explain the project clearly. He was also able to win the hearts of the judges and the crowd with his ability to teach himself mobile programming to improve further his team’s invention.

“[Divyana] became more committed in whatever she’s doing and realised the importance of research and teamwork. I myself am learning from her and applying this at work. She [recently] told me about another programme that she wants to join, and I said ‘Go for it!’.” - Parimala, mother of Divyana Sathayaseelan.
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Divyana Sathayaseelan from Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Damansara Jaya's team Adventurous (pictured with her younger brother and mother Parimala) is keen to participate in other programming events in the future.
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“The priceless moments [of mentoring the participants] were when their faces lit up because the solutions work – it gets me every time! I am humbled to be a part of the guiding voice for them.” - Asni Mazura Ali, Senior Account Manager, Pengerang Integrated Complex Account Management and BYM Mentor.
“I used to have a mentor and got first-hand experience of having someone to guide me, so I know how precious that is especially when you are young. It is rewarding to see how much the students have improved their presentation and communication skills. I decided to become a mentor so that others can experience that as well.” - Menaga Erusan, Executive, Strategic Communications and BYM mentor.​