Kirsty Traill

On day 4 of Groundswell, the Young Innovators Awards took place, where the top young innovators of 2019 were announced, to a packed out audience of family, friends, local business and political leaders, and education professionals. 

This year’s award winners impressed the judges with their focus on sustainability and their passion for solving real world problems, be they remembering to take medication, helping people stay safe while cycling on the road, or sorting colours of glass using light technology.  

A new category was introduced for the overall winners of four categories Communication, Creativity, Sustainability and Research. 

Judged by international judge Kirsty Traill, Vice President – Customer, for Hootsuite, who chose the stand-out finalists to win these new specialist awards. In her speech at the Awards, she challenged students saying, ‘It is our responsibility as humans to continue to drive innovation and use it to effect real, positive change in the world.  Each and everyone of you are absolutely the key to this. It is imperative that you take your dreams and turn them into reality, because the world needs you. In fact, the world needs you now, more than ever before’. 

Nigel Tutt, CEO of Priority One who run the YiA Awards said, ‘This year was a stand-out. Our judges were of such a high calibre, and along with the incredible work done by the students who entered, we continue to see the YiA programme grow from strength to strength. The awards are incredibly well supported by our business community. The connection between local businesses and our future workforce is an extremely valuable one’. 

Top Tips for Aspiring Innovators 

During the evening the judges shared their top tips for aspiring innovators with the students: 

Kirsty Traill, Vice President, Hootsuite

“Follow your curiosity and let that drive your innovation.
Dream big, and then bigger.
Have the courage to follow our heart and let your intuition guide you, it always seems to know what you want before you do.” 

Erik Hay, Creative Director, Weta Workshop

‘There are far more people in the world who critique, than those who create. It’s far harder to create something than to create. What we need is people who create.’

Georgia Meek, The Babysitters Club:

“Just get started.
Nothing is failure, all is learning.
Be determined and willing to work hard.
No matter where you are in life, you are in control of your future; you just need to know what you want.” 

Full list of all the winners can be found here: https://www.yia.co.nz/2019-winners

Massive congrats to all the finalists, and of course the winners for 2019!