The European Youth Award

On 28th of November 2019, the European Youth Award Festival (EYA) took place at FH Joanneum Graz. There, ten innovative projects created by students, young professionals or startups were presented to us. In order to give you some insights, I will describe some of those projects, addressing their strengths and weaknesses they have in my point of view.

First, I would like to draw attention to Ligence, the first project that was presented. The idea of simplifying the process of echocardiography seems very appealing to me since it could help hospitals or doctors to treat more patients in less time. According to the presenting project member, the software could generate necessary data for a medical judgment in half of the time of the current process. Also, if the echocardiography functions automatically, as he proclaimed, also non-specialised hospital staff can be asked to undertake this task. If they can ensure that the quality of the medical data is exact and provides a reliable basis for a judgment, I think it is a great idea and also the development and implementation of this software is remarkable.

Next I would like to comment the project named Forest and Climate. It is a very good idea to plant trees and also very necessary nowadays. I like that they undertake that task to strike against climate change. However, I feel like their projects was not too well thought through. This is because they spend an incredible amount of time only in researching which regions would be suitable to plant a forest. From the information I got from the presentation, it was only a goal in 2020 to clear legal specifications about planting a forest on (in most cases) someone’s private property. In my point of view, this would have been my first step when planning to conduct a project like this since if that fails, the project can be terminated without having one single tree planted.

Another project, that I liked (to a certain extent), was mCommunity. I think it is a great idea to engage citizens more in the municipal community. Since smartphones present a comfortable way of communicating or interacting with others, I am sure it is simple to convince citizens to use it. Moreover, valuable ideas for the municipality can be found. The project seems to be at a quite elaborate stage since they have already a beta test running in a municipality in Mazedonia. This is why, I am convinced that they are able to actually provide the services they are promoting. The only weakness I see in this project is that elderlies are not integrated. If your municipality is using mCommunity and you do not own a smartphone or simply do not know how to use it, you can impossibly be part of that digital community that is establishing. I do not know if they have thought about this and have a solution to this problem but if not, it would be quite unfair to elderlies since this population group is especially known to be lonely and sought to be engaged more with the outer world.

Lastly, I would like to draw attention to Socialbnb. It is a good idea to find a way to fund important social projects. The growth of the project during this past year, especially concerning partnerships with NGO’s, is remarkable. Moreover, it is very well thought through and organised. However, I am concerned about the money flow in this project. As I understood it, they help local people in tourist spots to rent their free rooms to tourists via the internet. The money that comes out of this then goes to social projects, the NGO and Socialbnb themselves. But I wonder if the host of the tourists does get any of the money. If this is not the case, then I think it is a quite unfair solution since the local host has to prepare a room with beds etc. and in some cases has to provide his guests with breakfast and meals (as they claimed in the presentation). Refunding the host not at all for these efforts would not be the right way to fund projects. However, maybe they just excluded this information from the presentation.

To conclude, there were many interesting projects presented, also with potential to be used by real end consumers or users. I, for my part, am not sure if I would apply to this competition. This is because I do not really have an innovative idea right now that can actually have a positive impact on other people’s lives.