An idea to create sustainable 3D printing materials has emerged triumphant in Griffith University’s recent Innovation Challenge.
The Griffith Innovation Challenge is a multi-disciplinary 10CP elective course any undergraduate student can enroll in and develop an idea for a new product, service or business model that has the potential to make a difference.
The winning team included First Year Bachelor of Design and Bachelor of Business student Hannah Licciardo, Third Year Bachelor of Commerce student Jordan Gifford and international Bachelor of Sports and Health Management student Makoto Tanabe, with a venture they have named Envirofil.
Hannah said they initially wanted to create a business that 3D printed personalised items from recycled plastic filament, but when starting their research, they quickly realised there were no companies in Australia producing the sustainable product.
“Recycled plastic filament is not being made in Australia and there are only a handful of companies that do make it worldwide,” Hannah said.
“This means plastic filament for 3D printers is typically made from new plastic, adding to the plastic pollution problems we are already facing.”
Hannah said their product is created entirely from recycled plastic waste – like the waste that is currently being thrown into landfill and the ocean.
“By combining this goal with the boom of 3D printing, Envirofil aims to bring to market an eco-effective and high-quality filament.”
Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Debra Henly said The Griffith Innovation Challenge nurtured highly transferable skills in an environment that allowed students from a variety of disciplines to come together around innovative solutions.
“Problem solving, creativity and team work are the underpinnings of all careers,” Professor Henly said.
“With this course, we continue to produce graduates who have the skills to have productive, impactful and rewarding careers.”
Course convenor Associate Professor Dr Naomi Birdthistle said students received monitoring by industry and academic experts, which helped to frame their value proposition, gain clarity on their idea and guidance on the next steps in their venture.
She said judges were asked to consider whether the problem and solution identified would make a difference to people and/or communities, if the idea aligned with Griffith values, the validated learning the team had and how that impacted their idea and the development of their minimum viable product. Judges were also asked to consider the organisation, presentation and persuasiveness of their pitch.
“The winning venture attempted to solve a huge problem – what to do with single use plastic,” Dr Birdthistle said.
“They understood the process involved and talked to leading academics and practitioners in the field who all indicated support and interest in being customers in the future.”
The Envirofil team won $6000 towards development of the business idea, a $2500 in-kind prize from Cohort, which includes a half-day workshop, and one month of co-working space and access for facilities for up to three people.
Second and third place shared in a further $4000 prize, with all funding prizes sponsored by Transit Australia Group and RedEye.