The Student News Site of Taipei American School




Students advance health with entrepreneurship at annual NOVA event

Members of Kingsman Co. discuss NOVA project. [Phoebe C./The Blue & Gold]

From Jan. 25-27, Taipei American School hosted its annual NOVA event. This year, instead of having a free range event, students were expected to build an organization, company, app or device that answers the prompt, “How to live a healthier life.”
Students from American School in Japan, Pacific American School, Asia American International Academy, Pacific American School and Taipei European School also attended the event. Students competed  to win the first place prize: an internship at the Taiwanese company FutureWard. FutureWard aids freelance workers and young entrepreneurs toward building new companies and organizations by enhancing their customer relationships with central and international coworkers.  
Compared to last year, many believe that the NOVA participants have become more ambitious and aggressive in winning the event. “The travel teams were obviously selected, so they take the event more seriously,” Derek C. (‘21), a member of this year’s finalist group, Kingsman Co., said. “NOVA has turned from a recreational weekend event to a formal conference. Before, my team and I just wore casual attire. This year, we wore relatively formal clothing to pitch our idea, while the travel teams dressed in suits, thus highlighting the extremely competitive environment this year’s NOVA fosters.”
Another significant change in this year’s NOVA event is that all participants must abide by a fixed prompt. “Last year we could create a project from anything,” Derek said. “The intention of enforcing a specific question was most likely put into place to prevent people from having a head start.”
Read about previous NOVA events hosted at TAS:

This year, Kingsman Co. produced Medyminder, a medical reminder app that provides patients with medical assistance. The app allows family members to use a “poke” feature to remind and support the person in use. “Here’s how to app works. Let’s say a person has eczema and one day the humidity is particularly bad. The app would send him a reminder to the person to remind them to put on lotion or cream before they leave the house,” Kingsman Co. member Douglas L. (‘21) said.  
The “poke” feature of the app not only assists with providing medical care to people, but also creates a sense of support. “The poke is more focused on medical aspects, it’s not just a text notification,” Kingsman Co. member Austin W. (‘21) said. “It also helps keep the family in the loop, and creates family warmth and support.”

“Everyone saw a different version of the same idea, and there was no clear communication.”

One main problem that the members of Kingsman Co. dealt with was the uncertainty of their project design. “We started off with a 45 to 55 ratio, where some people wanted our idea and some didn’t,” Douglas said. “Everyone saw a different version of the same idea, and there was no clear communication. Even though the majority wanted the idea, it is hard to continue and negotiate when not everyone is fully dedicated to carry out the will of the group.”
On the second day, the team began to debate on whether it was worth it or not to continue pursuing their project. “It was 10 p.m. and we were thinking of ditching our idea and coming up with a new one,” Douglas said. “The entire problem came from the fact that we came up with ideas that people weren’t committed to.”
Eventually, the team advanced their project and overcame the issue by improving the app’s features. “Instead of changing our entire idea, we just improved it,” said David.
Overall, participants of NOVA are pleased with the event’s outcomes. “We grew intellectually and socially,” Alexander C. (‘21), a member of Kingsman Co., said. “My main takeaway from NOVA is that the competition gives us a taste of real pressure. Although we argued a lot, we still thought realistically during the process, and we were able to wheel the competitive spirit of NOVA to our best advantage.”  

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