Creative Problem Solving: Nagoya University’s 2016 NC Ambition Camp

The GTI hosted 14 eager graduate and doctoral students from Japan’s top-ranked Nagoya University in June for a entrepreneurship and innovation. The students conquered delayed and cancelled flights and jet lag as they immediately jumped into their first entrepreneurship workshop with Jennifer Capps, the director of academic programs for NC State’s Entrepreneurship Initiative. The students discussed problems they had researched and observed in Japan and used those ideas to jump into the process of identifying an issue to solve during the program.

In addition to entrepreneurship, the students engaged in communication workshops to help them address issues and reservations when communicating in English, both in formal and informal settings. They even competed in a scavenger hunt across campus to help them engage with the community and learn some history and fun facts about NC State.

As they worked toward the development of their minimum viable products, they worked with mentors from the Entrepreneurship Initiative. The Nagoya students also visited companies that developed from NC State courses similar to their own. They got to see roof-top bee hives at Bee Downtown, an old bank-turned-innovation hub at American Underground, and the palette-constructed cubicles in the headquarters of FilterEasy. Even these offices were created in an innovative way!

But, GTI programs are never all work and no play. The students had the opportunity to explore the local area, have dinner in American homes, and even try America’s version of sushi.

At the end of the program, students presented their products to potential “investors” that were then able to choose which ideas they deemed worthy of investment. The winners included a shopping list app with an time-saving route builder for specific grocery stores, a cosmetic pump bottle with a removable bottom to eliminate product waste, and a portable study space to help procrastinators focus and get to work on those last-minute assignments.

Thanks to all those that helped make this summer camp an amazing experience for everyone involved!