The Singapore team of Yale-NUS College was named the champion in a regional Shell scenarios competition yesterday.
Shell’s Imagine the Future Scenarios Competition 2017/2018 received more than 12 entries from Singapore, Egypt and Thailand. The winning team was picked because of their rich references to history and comprehensive exploration of how technology, politics, society and individual choices will shape the future. How they developed plausible but very different futures impressed the judging panel comprising of Shell representatives Doug McKay, VP, Government Relations, Asia Pacific and Competition Advisor, and Phil Turley, Venture Director, as well as Constant van Aerschot, Executive Director, Business Council for Sustainable Development, and Mengmeng Cui, Manager, Accenture Strategy.
“Initially our team faced difficulty reconciling our multi-disciplinary approaches to scenarios formation. Over time, we realised that this was actually a strength for scenario-building. We are enthusiastic to see that the judges enjoyed our presentation and are very proud to take home our win,” said Singapore team representative Joshua Phua. Other team members are Aditya Karkera, Jamin Jamieson, Adila Sayyed, Ann Chen and Wen Kin Lim.
The winning students will present their vision of ‘A Binary World vs A Dispersed Planet’ at the Powering Progress Together Forum in Singapore on 8 March 2018, as part of Shell’s Make the Future Singapore festival of bright energy ideas and innovations for Asia.
The competition, in its second year, challenges young visionaries to develop contrasting scenarios based on the theme, “More and cleaner energy in Asia Pacific and Middle Eastern cities in 2050: How residents live, work, and play.”
Through analysing trends and the trajectory of technological advancements, the students came up with plausible views of the future.
Dr Mallika Ishwaran, Shell’s senior economist and energy policy advisor, says: “It is very interesting to see how young minds envision the future and how they can play a part in addressing the energy challenges of the future.
She adds, “Shell is a pioneer in using scenarios to develop possible visions and Shell Scenarios are ‘what if’ questions that stretch one’s thinking to understand the opportunities as well as uncertainties that lie ahead.”
About Imagine the Future Scenarios Competition
Think smart grids and meters, real time data on transportation, centralised sources of energy, and devices that can read your mood and vital signs. The winning entries illustrated future possibilities to help envision how our cities would look like by 2050 and the impact that energy and technology can have on people’s lives.
The top entries for this year’s competition are:
1st Prize: A Binary World vs A Dispersed Planet by Yale-NUS College, Singapore
With variables such as the level of centralisation and access to private data, the Singapore team presented two contrasting scenarios on what the future will look like. While one scenario depicted a highly centralised world, with governments and big firms having access to private data, making it easy for them to provide convenient and fuss-free services, the second scenario showed empowered individuals with the autonomy to make their own choices – and even generate their own energy – free to exercise innovation and creativity and carve niches in society.
2nd Prize: Adam Smith as President vs Elon Musk as President by the American University in Cairo, Egypt
As for the Egypt team, their scenarios explore the role of governments in initiating mass projects versus entrepreneurship as the order of the day, with the government playing a support role in investment policies. In the first scenario, the government leads and regulates agriculture along with other sectors in society, using real time maps to advise farmers on which plants to grow in certain areas to advances in solar water system technology. In the second scenario which focuses on entrepreneurship, the people are provided spaces for research, leading to innovations such as smart fertilizers, use of artificial intelligence to monitor crops, and diversified sources of energy.
3rd Prize: Idea City vs Economic City by Chiang Mai University, Thailand
Focusing on population density, the Thailand team’s first scenario is a city with low population density and an inspiring atmosphere. The abundance of green spaces lets the creative juices flow, coupled with smart technologies and a laid-back life which allows the city to keep its culture and traditions intact. Bustling with people, the second scenario takes us to a city with high population density. Modern technology combined with a highly advanced educational system enable fast exchanges on data and investments, helping the economy to flourish.
Imagination and innovation under one roof
Shell’s Imagine the Future Scenarios Competition is one of the highlights in this year’s Powering Progress Together Forum.
Another interesting presentation will be by five start-ups that have been selected by Shell to take part in the inaugural Shell #IdeaRefinery – a 20-week accelerator programme focused on developing early stage energy-related start-ups into full-fledged commercial ventures with a strong societal impact.
The chosen start-ups – billionBricks, EnergyNova, Solarite, Tripledot Technologies, and Xnergy – will showcase and pitch their innovations to potential investors during the Powering Progress Together Forum.
Imagine the Future Scenarios Competition and #IdeaRefinery are two Shell initiatives designed to engage the thriving start-up industry in Singapore and today’s millennials to think about and get involved in the progress towards more and cleaner energy in a lower-carbon world. These also underscore Shell’s commitment to be a catalyst for innovation, collaboration and conversation about the region’s shared energy challenge.
The Powering Progress Together Forum with the theme of “Energy for Better Living”, will also feature a panel discussion focusing on current and future energy challenges and opportunities facing Asia. Among the panellists will be Dr. Cheong Koon Hean, Chief Executive Officer of the Housing & Development Board of Singapore, and Mark Gainsborough, Executive Vice President of Shell New Energies.
Themed “Energy for Better Living”, leaders from both business and government sectors will share their perspectives and discuss strategies on making the global energy transition to a low-carbon energy future to manage the risks of climate change, while also ensuring that there is enough energy for economies to expand and people to prosper. These are some points which will get the discourse going.
About Powering Progress Together
The fifth Asian edition of the Shell Powering Progress Together Forum will be held on March 8, 2018 as part of Make the Future Singapore. The forum will bring together more than 150 leaders, young talents and representatives from business, government and society to discuss, debate and catalyse cross-border collaborations to tackle future energy challenges. The Powering Progress Together theme for 2018 is “Energy for Better Living”, and will be an immersive and open dialogue centred on Asian aspirations – balancing the needs of some of the fast-growing economies with the growing pressure on resources to make more and cleaner energy a reality in this region. Since the first forum in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 2012, Shell Powering Progress Together has evolved into a cross-market series of connected events that foster dialogues to help address future energy challenges.
About Make the Future Singapore
Make the Future Singapore, a free festival of bright energy ideas and innovations for Asia, takes place at Singapore’s Changi Exhibition Centre from March 8 to 11, 2018. Virtual reality and hands-on experiences will take visitors on a journey to explore bright ideas from around Asia, see what is happening now to power our world and get a glimpse of what the future of energy might look like. They will be able to discover what it's like to generate electrical energy by dancing, play interactive games, build and race mini saltwater cars, and meet young scientists and energy start-ups.
Make the Future Festivals is Shell’s global platform for conversation, collaboration and innovation around the world’s energy challenges. With events hosted in countries around the globe, they aim to provide an opportunity for multiple stakeholders: including students, entrepreneurs, businesses, governments and the public, to experience, test and contribute bright energy ideas.