Championing innovation with young learners in Toronto

JA Central Ontario joins forces with IHG to host it’s first JA Innovation Camp for learners aged 15-18.

On Monday March 2nd, JA Central Ontario ran a workshop to bring out the inner innovator in 50 local students. This event was part of a global initiative, led by our parent organization JA Worldwide (JAWW).

Created in partnership with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), the Innovation Camp has been designed to focus on innovative solutions to key business challenges.

The event was held at IHG’s InterContinental Toronto Yorkville location, bringing locals students together with 10 mentors and 6 expert IHG judges to support them throughout the day.

Unlocking creative spirits

This 1-day workshop saw teams of students work collaboratively to generate business ideas in response to a bespoke business challenge. Each team had help from experienced mentors from IHG, who supported the students as they tackled a specific business challenge related to ensuring the food and beverage teams at IHG hotels are as environmentally friendly as possible. They were then tasked with finding a solution to the challenge.

This was a fantastic experience for young learners, who were encouraged to think creatively and work together to succeed. The students were not told about the problem until they arrived on-site. Then the students were split up into teams of 4 to 6 students each and launched into the problem-solving phase. They divided the different tasks among themselves while making use of the individual strengths of everyone in the group to develop further their interpersonal skills at the same time.

Each team was asked to present their ideas to a panel of expert judges. The judges determined the relevance, innovativeness and quality of the solution – with a winner announced at the end of the day.

The winning team wowed judged with their take on the environmentally-friendly challenge, suggesting IHG make the most of unused space at the hotel, such as the parking lot, to implement an eco-market from May to October. The team will go on to compete in the Global On-Line Finals on April 22nd.

An international effort

Our JA Innovation Camp is part of an international program to spark innovation in young students. The winners from this event will advance to the Global Online Finals, where IHG senior staff will judge presentations from 9 participating countries and award a Global Champion.