A Day of Innovation

By China Digital Discovery Camp correspondents Zhu Hao, He Xi, Wang Xingze and Xue Yehao

Medill School of Journalism (San Francisco)

How does a business idea become realized? As a professor at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University — one of the most prestigious journalism schools in the U.S. — Abe Peck used an interactive approach to demonstrate an 11-step program for a successful start-up business.

Instead of giving a tedious lecture that goes through all 11 stages, Peck pushed the Chinese students into a product-designing competition. With an unexpected challenge — improving Chinese dog owners’ experience — Peck divided the class into four groups, each aimed at creating different media products.

The first step of a successful start-up, according to Peck, is “capturing the mission and the purpose of your product.” While a vision is essential for a business, he points out that a business leader ”has to be passionate, but you still needs some business sense.” After going through each group’s preliminary results, Peck provided lots of practical suggestions directly related to each product.

Not only did students grasp the essence of successful business products, they also developed their own understanding on business start-ups by conceiving a real product. Peck, however, employed an unique approach that had every student engage in learning.

—By He Xi, Beijing No.4 High School International Campus

Haas School of Business (Berkeley)

It was around 1 p.m. when the gilded sign of University of California greeted our eyes. The sun was shining bright as we entered the campus. Walking through the shade of the trees and struggling to find the best way to navigate the campus, we finally arrived at the Haas School of Business.

A student from the art school at Berkeley named Dulce Lopez gave us a warm welcome. She also gave us some basic information about Berkeley, for example: details about the housing, the food, and her personal experience as a freshman. Then she took us on a quick tour in which we saw the school’s study room, library and museum.

—By Zhu Hao, Wuxi Big Bridge Academy

Skydeck Startup Accelerator & Kiwi (Berkeley)

Having robots doing all the hard work at a cheap price has always been an innovator’s dream. But Kiwi is bringing this dream into reality.

Kiwi is a startup company working on robot delivery of food at college campuses. It’s part of the Skydeck incubator in downtown Berkeley,

While the typical fee for grocery deliveries by humans is about $5 and takes around 30 minutes, Kiwi robots can do the same thing within 15 minutes and charge only about $2. Furthermore, Kiwi says it is making profits while most startups are losing money.

Kiwi is not the only company that uses robots for food delivery, but Kiwi says it is different. According to Kiwi strategist and UC Berkeley engineering student Veer Doshi, Kiwi only takes orders from college students. With that being said, they’ll be able to track and find the robot if it’s broken for some reasons. Furthermore, college students are open and are interested in new things such as robot delivery. “We understand them,” said Doshi, when being asked about why they chose to have college students as their customers.

In terms of safety, Kiwi robots also do a good job. According to Doshi, it takes different passwords to open up the box of the Kiwi robot every time. When asked about the entire robot being taken away by people halfway, Doshi told us that each of these robots has three cameras that will “see” the guy doing that and the local police will arrive in a short time.

When asked about their advantage compared to big companies such as amazon, Doshi seemed very optimistic.

“We know our robots,” Doshi said. He believes that startups are more flexible and know their markets better for most of the time. To be more specific, he believed that startups can respond to changes more quickly.

With its creative team members and unique characteristics, Kiwi will get to more and more schools and eventually other fields. So don’t be surprised when you see a cute Kiwi robot running inside your campus!

—By Wang Xingze, Beijing No.4 High school International Campus

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