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Innovation Challenge!

Innovation Challenge!

17 March, 2020


On the 17th January 2020, Clearstream, Swyft Energy and the Irish Naval Services challenged CIT students to explore solutions to some specific industry challenges they encounter.

The students, who took on the CIT Innovation Challenge voluntarily and without academic reward were given just six weeks to devise their solutions and strategies. Four multidisciplinary student groups were established, allowing for all-emcompassing solutions.

The CIT team of multi-disciplary volunteers who drove this initiative were Hugh O Donnell and Paul Keane (CIT Mechaical, Biomedical and Manufacturing Engineering Department), Sorcha MacMahon, Paul Healy and Carole O’Leary (Rubicon Centre) and Ignacio Castineiras (Department of Computer Science). They all gave freely of their time to mentor the students over 6 weeks.


The final event took place at Clearstream’s new offices at Navigation Square, as part of CIT Innovation Week on Tuesday 3rd March. Students pitched their ideas to the companies in the presence of the CIT volunteers and senior management from Clearstream, Irish Naval Services, Swyft Energy and  CIT.

First to present were Margaret McSweeney, Richard Cross, Rishabh Chandaliya, Ashling Twomey, Nikihita Venkatesh and Praveeth Dsouza, who had taken on a Human Resource based challenge from Clearstream, a leading European supplier of post-trading services.

The students proposed ClearAura, an app to promote a healthy work-life balance and wellness in the workplace. The app is tailored to the needs of each employee focusing on the four pillars of work-life balance; clear fit, clear eat, clear mind and clear care. The app is updated every 4 months with the latest food and wellness programs. The team also suggested the introduction of ‘clear coins’ to incentivise employee participation in health programs and initiatives. The app also offers advice, a Q&A session with a nutritionist and personal trainer and weekly group goals.

This program also encourages healthier options in the canteen by implementing a traffic light system. One of the KPI’s is measuring happiness and conducting a survey every 3 months. The technologies students used in the creation of the app included Java, Android Studio and InVision Studio.

Brendan Ahearne, Global HR Business Relations at Clearstream said, ‘’We get a huge amount out of CIT and the graduates from there who continue to drive us forward globally. We leave events like this feeling confident in the graduates we get from CIT’’.


RoseAnne O’Mahony, Alissara McCarthy, Kamlesh Narsinghani, Josh O’Brien, Veda Mandavkar and Vivek Chaudhari,  took on a challenge from the Irish Naval Services to design a secure technical data capture system. Their pitch entitled ‘Mara Solutions’ seeks to improve on the current logbook method in use, which can pose security issues. 

Mara Solutions ensures a secure framework, access control, an administrative interface, and passwords and file validation when creating an account on the ‘Mara Log’. The programme is proven to be secure and cannot be compromised, offering search capability, media storage and centralization functions. The main objective of Mara Solutions is to develop search capabilities per unit/weapon/date/AAI or AA.

Clodagh McConnell, Lieutenant Commander Irish Naval Services, said,‘’We’ve been given a completely different perspective, it’s impressive in 6 weeks, taking in the cyber side was very interesting for us. This solution would make communications better for everyone’’.



The third solution was for Swyft Energy, a start-up based in the Rubicon Centre. Established in 2018 and employing 30 people, Swyft Energy endeavours to make information on renewable energy estimates and grants more easily accessible for the end customer. Pratik Patil, Melroy Anthony, Ajinka Bhuwad, Jason Shawn and D'Souza presented ‘Zeitplan’, a software programme which automates the manual and laborious task of assigning the right technicians to various client requests. 

A performance comparison based on humans versus Zeitplan matching 10 clients to 10 technicians, took 3 minutes for a human but only 2.24 seconds on Zeitplan. Swyft Energy representatives said Zeitplan would make scaling up much easier as it would save them so much time moving from manual scheduling.

A fourth group who chose to take on another one of Swyft Energy’s challenges were Jordan Keohane, Alesja Stafuka, Luciana Azubuike, Aakash Patel, Edward Hetherington and Jagriti Jain. Swyft Energy wanted to address quality assurance after boiler installation. The current system is not efficient for installation engineers and QA engineers so this group’s goal was to create a user-friendly solution via the Swyft Artificial Intelligence QA App which connects to a camera on the device, enabling the image of the boiler to be sent to the QA App.

The group used a blue ocean strategy and incorporated an AI element whereby the user has two attempts to upload an image. This solution means that a plumber, for example, has to pay only one visit, reducing the time taken to fix rejected installations and making it more cost-efficient. The technology that the group used and the solution that they provided aligned closely with Swyft Energy's aims and representatives from the company said they haven’t seen innovation like this in the industry for 50 years.

Ger O’ Donovan, Head of Faculty of Business and Humanities commended students on their presentations and said, ’It’s amazing to see how the students embraced the company brief in six weeks and came up with workable and viable solutions to implement’’.

Carole O’Leary, Regional Programme Manager for 3rd Level Student Entrepreneurship at Cork Institute of Technology said, "This is an extra circular activity for the students who have taken this work upon themselves, working at weekends and late into the evening. Projects like these say a lot about the commitment from these CIT students’’.

To explore how CIT can collaborate with you, email or call 021 4335302.