Hero photograph
Alia Govin-Fowler 9SOSC and E Wen Wong 11TAW in San Francisco
Photo by Sandra Pooch

Burnside High School at the World Future Problem Solving

Mrs S Pooch —

E Wen Wong 11TAW writes about her experiences

After placing first in last year’s Future Problem Solving National Finals, I was granted an enjoyable and highly memorable opportunity to represent New Zealand at the 2018 Future Problem Solving International Conference. This conference took place at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse in early June and was attended by over 2000 national and state champions from around the globe.

The competition itself revolved around the topic of ‘Criminal Justice Systems’. After months of researching everything from the business acumen of cybercriminal enterprises to the pros and cons of the utilitarian philosophy, I had what was a very eye-opening chance to critically analyse the current and potential flaws faced by criminal justice systems, now and into the future. One aspect that appealed to me was the implications of weak international law and murky cross-border jurisdiction, and how this affects the ways in which criminals perceive and target certain groups and regions. In the two-hour competition, the hypothetical scenario we faced addressed the struggles of Georgetown’s political, law enforcement and social activist leaders to increase community safety through a ‘Safe Street Initiative’. After identifying challenges, an underlying problem and potential solutions within the scenario’s parameters, my final action plan involved the development of ‘Muse - the responsive art of crime’. Muse is a derivative of synesthesia which uses predictive policing and machine-learning algorithms to translate crime risk into pitch, and from there music, to be better understood by the community.

I was fortunate enough to place 5th in the Global Issues Problem Solving Middle Individual division, which was both very rewarding and a complete surprise! Congratulations also to Alia Govin-Fowler 9SOSCwho placed fourth in the Junior Scenario Writing competition, representing Cobham Intermediate, and also to Benjamin Davey  9WPEC and Eric Huang  9NHDC who competed in the Junior Global Issues Team competition. This definitely bodes well for the future of Future Problem Solving at Burnside!

This, being my second time attending the International Finals, was again a great opportunity to make lifelong friends and valuable connections, both in New Zealand and abroad. The experiences I have from the World Championships are still an ongoing, yet refreshing reminder to keep thinking creatively through normal school life. Around school, I continue to realise the potential applications of the Future Problem Solving process in a range of contexts and feel empowered to help others realise these too.

E Wen Wong 11WTAW