Innovative solutions to emerging world problems

“You don’t make mistakes sitting on the couch!” Eugene Fedorchenko.

Shelby Ueckermann and Eugene Fedorchenko are off the couch and embracing any opportunity to grow from mistakes. This is the attitude that drove the pair to become regional winners of Ericsson Innovation Awards, a global competition that challenges university teams from around the world to find innovative solutions to emerging world problems.

The pair making up Team Nexus, started in a field of 1444 university teams and have now made it to the final 15. This makes them the top 1% of all entries. More impressive given they are balancing study with full time work and family commitments.  This team, with the assistance of very supportive partners, are juggling to make sure they keep doing everything they can to be successful.

Shelby Ueckermann and Eugene Fedorchenko, regional winners of Ericsson Innovation Awards
Shelby Ueckermann and Eugene Fedorchenko

The 2018 theme, The Future of Truth , challenged students to find innovative solutions on how to find, validate and share truth in the age of information and communication technology. Shelby and Eugene are developing an innovative blockchain network which explores a new way to categorise and search information, allowing companies, governments and consumers to make faster, better informed decisions. While blockchain technology is not new, this duo is bringing the pieces together in a user-friendly way. The Nexus team is developing a way to find information quickly and efficiently and to give a digital visibility over what's going on in the business.

In the usage of and the storage of data it’s important to know that what you're looking at is credible, truthful and up-to-date. We also need to understand the context in which it belongs. Blockchain allows you to verify and validate data making it credible

The global competition offers cash prizes and the chance to work with a team of Ericsson mentors. While the money was appreciated, the opportunity to refine a business model under the guidance and support of Ericsson mentors has been one of the valuable aspects of the regional prize. The ambitious pair are appreciating the opportunity to work with people who are pushing them to be the best they can be.

The mentors are so invested, they'll take calls with us at 10, 11, 12 at night to make it work. They put in weekend work, they do bi-weekly meetings with each other so they're prepared for our meetings. It's also really inspiring for us because they're taking it seriously and they really want us to do well. Shelby Ueckermann

Andres Torres, Customer Marketing Manager at Ericsson, has been impressed with the team’s high level of energy and desire to make this a success. “As one of five mentors, it’s cool to be a part of the program. We all offer our different specialist experience so Shelby and Eugene can expand their understanding of technology and business. They have a great idea, so valuable to government and industry. We all want to help the students be successful.”

Ericsson's global network ensures the team has access to mentors with both business and technical experience Nexus's mentors are based in Kenya, Sweden, Finland and Melbourne. Shelby, Eugene and the Ericsson mentors keep connected with conference calls, e-mail discussion and Skype video meetings.

Eugene and Shelby are working towards selection for the Grand Final Event being held in Nobel Museum in Stockholm in May. The final four teams will be announced 3rd of April, 2018.

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