It is a great pride of Khon Kaen University and Thai people that the work from KKU Science Park, “the Maker Greenovation Platform”, is enlisted among the best ten works out of over 200 works all over the world. The Inspiring Solutions Programme was held at the 37th Virtual IASP World Conference 2020 in Spain, hosted by the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP) on December 1-3, 2020. There were over 350 participating organization members from 76 countries.
Dr. Apirachai Wongsriworapon, Director of Khon Kaen University Science Park, as the head of the Maker Greenovation Platform revealed the route towards the success that the winning comes from attempts and plans to pin KKU name at the world venue starting two years ago.
“The International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP) is a world-class organization joined by Science Parks all over the world that see the importance to propel and develop innovations. Each country, with good economic development and high GDP, has a lot of Science Parks. At present, Thailand has 16 Science Parks, but only 3 are IASP members including Thailand Science Park, KKU Science Park, and PSU Science Park. KKU joined the membership in 2020. To become a member, a science park is required to be of a high standard. It is not just submitting an application and production. There are processes of detailed inspection from management and administration, from measuring the competence of organization personnel in developing innovation-based businesses, mechanisms or activities that creates an innovative-ecological system, infrastructures of science and technology, advanced scientific laboratories that serves the private sector, buildings and space for research; all of which must meet the international standards. This is not to mention that the organization must have worked with other science parks before.”
“Last year, KKU did everything to meet the standard including working with overseas science parks such as China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea. The international activities are important as they constituted the whole picture supporting the decision criteria to measure if KKU Science Park is appropriate to become a member of IASP. Therefore, being accepted as a member means KKU Science Park is accepted worldwide. We have worked for this for 4 years,” said the Director.
IASP holds the competition every year to exchange knowledge that will create innovations. Every year the topic changes to meet the world situation. In 2020, IASP’s theme was Inspiring Solutions Programme that aimed to find something to solve the world problems or develop the world population. Khon Kaen University Science Park, only in its first year of membership, sent the work called “Maker Greenovation” with the concept and mechanism to build entrepreneurs who create environmental conservation innovations for sustainability to the competition, as a try-out.
It turned out that the “Maker Greenovation Platform” Project does not only mark the first page of KKU Science Park as the primary work sent to a competition, but it also marks the first time to win one place out of ten best works of the world. The other countries placed among the ten were: US, China, Pakistan, Russia, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Brazil.
The reason behind the success of the Maker Greenovation Platform was from the concept to build people to in turn build an innovation that conserves the environment. This innovation can be used all over the world.
Dr. Apirachai Wongsriworapon, Director of Khon Kaen University Science Park explained that at present, the world is trying to build man so that man can build a business that raises income. “However, we forget the fact that businesses or innovations that we create usually have impact on the environment. Therefore, we should build a business in parallel to caring of the environment. The outcome will be good economy and sustainable environment. The Maker Greenovation Platform is a mechanism innovation that develops 3 age ranges: 1) children and youths, 2) the new generation, and 3) the elderly. This leads to various sub-projects with different activities and contents according to the needs of each age because each age range has different knowledge and life skills. This means the needs for information and mechanism of work are not the same,” said the Director.
The development mechanisms in the Maker Greenovation Platform are as follows:
Group 1: Children and Youths – The Secretary Office of the Science Park Promotion Committee, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation has allocated budget to build a Maker Space via the KKU Maker Space Project with objectives to allow children to experiment on producing a prototype product under expert guidance. This instills values in the children so that they know how to think and can further extend the idea and work. (There was the 2nd Thailand Computer Program Competition; NSC 2020 (Northeastern Region).
Group 2: The New Generation – This generation usually completed their education and want to build a business. For this generation, business knowledge is instilled through training and competition. There can be financial campaign for the start-up businesses. Knowledge about the social and environment must be given at the same time. Example of activities are Pitching Prototype, Insect Business in the Hackathon Insect Program.
Group 3: The Elderly – This group already has the knowledge. Therefore, the project emphasizes local wisdom such as wickerwork or weaving. Knowledge about science and technology is provided. This age does not pay interest in the environment; therefore, the training incorporates environmental problem solution such as how to dye cloth using natural colors, treatment of wastewater from using of dyes, so that they become aware of the environment and reduce pollutants. An example is the use of technology to assist organic enterprise group at Kranuan Sub-district, Khon Kaen.
In addition, the Director of KKU Science Park sees that the Maker Greenovation Platform does not only brings reputation and pride from the world stage, but it also reflects the work of the Science Park at KKU that follows the ecological strategy of Khon Kaen University, with emphasis on building ecological knowledge related to technology and innovation. อุ
“Before today, the Maker Greenovation Platform has had a lot of supports, from The Secretary Office of the Science Park Promotion Committee, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation, from the former administrators like Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kittichai Triratanasirichai, a former KKU President, Prof. Dr. Supachai Pathumnakul, Vice Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation, Assoc.Prf. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D., President of Khon Kaen University, Prof. Dr. Thidarat Boonmars, Vice President of KKU for Innovation and Enterprise, and network organizations both inside and outside KKU, KKU Library, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Science, etc.
Dr. Apirachai Wongsriworapon, Director of Khon Kaen University Science Park added, “Besides the pride from the award, the goodness of this project is that KKU Science Park is able to visualize the future of KKU to demonstrate to the world that the idea and capacities of Thai people are not second to any other nations. We will develop our innovations until the world see the qualities and potentialities of Thailand. Khon Kaen University plans that in the next year IASP competition, KKU will win one out of the first 3,” said the Director.
For details of the MAKER GREENOVATION PLATFORM, visit: https://sciencepark.kku.ac.th/en/maker-all
Examples of the projects for the 3 age ranges can be seen at: https://sciencepark.kku.ac.th/blogs/detail/99%20KKUSP
Group 1: NSC https://sciencepark.kku.ac.th/blogs/detail/121
Group 2: Hackathon Insect https://sciencepark.kku.ac.th/blogs/detail/92
Group 3: Use of technology to assist organic enterprise group at Kranuan Sub-district, Khon Kaen.
By Rawiporn Saisaenthong