Curt Plumer, a postgraduate Global Social Incubator Enterprise student, was one of 36 finalists selected from 400 entries from around the world.
The competition challenges participants to explore a complex social and environmental issue addressing one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Participants were required to map the extent of the problem, the key stakeholders and how changes can be made to make society better.
Curt, who is studying a Master of Business Administration at Torrens University, said it was nice recognition to be selected as a finalist in the global competition.
“As part of the Global Social Enterprise Incubator program, I had chosen to explore options to provide millions of people around the world with access to clean cooking fuel,” says Curt.
“When my lecturer suggested entering the Map the System challenge, I jumped at the chance to test my ideas on a global stage.”
Affordable, clean energy solution
Professor Khimji Vaghjiani, a Senior Learning Facilitator from the business faculty, says it was the first time Torrens University had participated in the Map the System Challenge and for Curt to be shortlisted from hundreds of entries and asked to present at the finals was an incredible achievement.
“Curt’s research shows that 4 million people die each year from using cooking fuels like wood and charcoal, not to mention the impact on the world’s air and environment.
“Curt’s solution has the potential to benefit 341 million people worldwide in reducing household air pollution and removing 174 tonnes of CO2 per family per year,” says Professor Vaghjiani.
“When you consider the UN Sustainable Development Goals like clean and affordable energy, good health and wellbeing and climate action, Curt’s project is truly relevant and important.”
Prototype under development
Curt’s research and idea to produce clean cooking fuel has enticed potential investors to explore the commercialisation of Curt’s idea.
“While emerging with a viable social enterprise is not a key objective of the Map the System Challenge, I wanted to develop a real and marketable idea that could change the lives of millions of people and have a positive impact on the environment.
“We’ve received interest from different stakeholders across many disciplines on the business plan, and we are exploring options to create a prototype of the design for trial before commercialising it,” says Curt.
“It is exciting to know that my idea could become reality and benefit many lives around the world, along with contributing to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
Power of critical systems thinking
Curt says competing against students from around the world provided a valuable insight into the power of critical systems thinking.
"It was fascinating to see how the other students applied systems thinking to the wide variety of challenges facing our society and the interconnectedness of those challenges, which we must take into consideration when designing solutions," says Curt.
“When we can apply systems thinking and look at problems from the perspective of all stakeholders we realise just how complex these problems are and the many people affected. In doing so we can work to develop real solutions resulting in better outcomes for people and planet.”