Thammasat Business School has won the Thailand edition of “Imagine the Future Competition 2020″. The winning team will now represent the country in the Asia Pacific and the Middle East finals, which will be held virtually in August 2020.
This is the third consecutive year of the competition by Shell, Thailand. Virtually held this year, the “Imagine the Future Competition 2020 Thailand” was themed “More and cleaner energy in Asia Pacific and Middle East cities in 2050: How will residents live, work and play”. Thirty-two teams of university students from all over Thailand participated in this first-ever virtual competition due to the COVID-19 situation.
Mr. Panun Prachuabmoh, Country Chairman of The Shell Company of Thailand Limited, said that Shell (Thailand) decided to continue the competition because cities across the world are facing the COVID-19 pandemic and have borne its effects in different aspects and time frames. Looking forward and preparing for the challenges and impacts that will come after is important and the changes will soon become the new normal.
The competition aims to involve university students in exploring plausible views of the future by learning from experts in different industries. The future is controlled by many different factors like the megatrends or an unprecedented situation like the pandemic.
Ms. Thitipa Laxanaphisuth Country Manager of External Relations of The Shell Company of Thailand Limited, the manager of Imagine the Future Scenario Competition Thailand said that, “Imagine the Future Scenario Competition 2020 Thailand asks young people to imagine plausible future scenarios in developing the Asia Pacific or Middle Eastern city and considering the future transition toward more and cleaner energy in 2050. The students will help each other imagine, learn, and think about the lifestyle, working, recreational activities of people in the future for their city design.”
This year, the competition had virtual Bootcamp, a series of learning activities with experts from all over the world to teach the participants about the energy transition, sustainability, and science of the future. Also, organized was a Shell Scenarios workshop, a session that imparted a set of tools aiding participants to exchange their thoughts and views on how future cities might be.
“Even though this year’s competition is a virtual competition, which means the contestants can only communicate online, they and their mentors have good and effective communications throughout the competition. We have to adapt everything while maintaining the fast response, everyone’s safety, and the continuity of the competition, so we can meet the objective of the project. We, at Shell (Thailand), believe that the people in the younger generation have the potential to drive the world forward with innovative thoughts and changes for the better life for every single life in the world,” Ms. Thitipa said.
Dr. Valerie Chou, the competition advisor, said that “Shell Scenarios is in its 50th anniversary. We are so happy to see people using scenarios to improve business, education, and even the government works. Additionally, imagining scenarios is also used in policy and city planning all around the world.”
“People often think that the future can be predicted, but in fact, it can only be imagined. There are many possibilities and many factors. “Imagine the future” is only to come up with plausible scenarios. By imagining, we are challenging our thought process and stretch the possible outcomes. It forces us to figure out what can we do now to create our future.”
Dr. Valerie Chou added that “This competition is a great opportunity for people in the new generation to develop their vision about the future, which is a good skill for the uncertain and complex world we live in.”
In the competition, the contestants start by learning the framework of imagining the future and cooperate with the analytical skills and creativity. Then, they will take the real-life situation and the insights and data and turn them into the plan from outsiders’ perspective.
Other than the training, the contestants also learned a lot from their volunteering mentors, Shell (Thailand) new generation of employees. This year is the first time Shell (Thailand) has introduced mentors into the competition. The mentors shared their experience, advice, and also learn new things along with the contestants throughout the competition.
“This project allows young people to express their thoughts and ideas about energy transition for the future, for example, the idea to reduce carbon emission. Moreover, I, as a Shell (Thailand) employee, want to know what people outside of the company think about the future of power resources especially from the younger generation like the contestants. Even though I am the mentor, I have learned a lot from participating in this project,” said Lin Jittivanich, or Mentor Lin, generation one mentor of the program.
As a mentor, we help the contestants to shape their ideas without leading them. The mentors guide the contestants by using what-if questions and keep them relevant. It is crucial to allow them to think outside of the box but with supporting reasons.
“Every competition is a chance to learn. Shell holds this competition and other projects because we believe in the potential of the younger generation, the driving force of the future. I feel the honor to be a part of this project and a part of Shell (Thailand).” Lin concludes.