In today’s interview, we are very honored to invite Mr. Zhang Shijian, who is currently studying at the Hong Kong Baptist University, majoring master's degree of Green Energy. As a participant of the 2018 International Innovation Accelerator Program, Shijian talked about why he chose to step onboard this journey with the Asia-Pacific Innovation Academy this summer. Zhang said APIA is an authoritative program designed by four famous universities and top research institutions, i.e. Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley, Google and Microsoft. It brings mentors and participants from different countries and backgrounds together, where, as Zhang claimed, he can enjoy the team collaboration under the clash of ideas. During the entrepreneurial process, each of them expressed their views and gained a common growth in teamwork and interpersonal skills. In addition, he points out that the glamour of APIA International Innovation Accelerator Program not only lies in the unique entrepreneurial concept and methodology, but also in the innovative and entrepreneurial platform it has built, practicing the integrated innovation strategy of science and technology in the Great Bay Area of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao. He believed that the platform has integrated global scientific and technological innovation resources, and provides the ideal environment for the participants from different backgrounds to work together. “The cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary interaction has widened my horizon”, quoted Zhang. He has also learned the knowledge of marketing, product design, electronic commerce and so on during the program.
Zhang Shijian, as the core member of the "Environmental Intelligent Lighting System" project, has undertaken research in the topic of “The health effects of blue ray light from the nature and LED to the human body”, with help from the Physics Department of Hong Kong Baptist University in 2018. His project was highly recognized by the department leaders and received guidance and advice from department professors. In the 2018 APIA International Innovation Accelerator Program, Zhang and his four teammates initiated the "HereRobot" project, which is an AI-delivery self-driving robot.
"This event is a good opportunity for me to apply the theoretical knowledge and skills I have learnt to practical operation. It is no doubt a memorable experience of practicing theory in the reality." Zhang commented. As a new generation entrepreneur, we wonder what are the innovative visions of Shijian. Let's take a look at his views on innovation and entrepreneurship.
Q1.How do you like this program? What made you join us?
A: Well，APIA program is really great and exciting. Participants of the program came from more than 50 countries! I think it is the diverse environment and the opportunity to form cross-profession and cross-cultural bond that impresses me the most. The networking opportunity in APIA helps me to develop my views from different different perspectives, which enhanced my problem-solving abilities and strengthened my skills overall
Q2. Can you share with us the business idea your team is currently working on?
My team is working on campus food delivery self-driving robot, which is based on my friend’s patent technology（3D reconstruction map）. I don’t mean to show off about technological patent we possess, but I feel like I must emphasize and credit my friend, for providing the fundamental technology to our startup.
Q3.What is your role in your team and how do you manage your teamwork? Could you give us a brief introduction of your teammates?
I am the CEO and CBO in this team. I have some experience in business management and design but I am no professional in these fields. Nevertheless, I tried my best to carry the project forward, with my trusted teammates. Wang Baichuan is our CDO and software developer and Zhang Lulu is responsible for marketing related matters. Her experience in trade and international business means a lot to our team.
Q4. Throughout your startup journey this summer, have you encountered any major issues? How the mentors of the program help to solve the issue and what is the best advice you've been given from your mentor?
Our team was flooded with ideas in the beginning, such as video games and mobile apps development projects, precise location etc., which makes it confusing to decide on the “right” direction to work on. Raj, our chief mentor commented that the business idea must have a narrow focus, and the role of mentors is to facilitate and to encourage creativity and innovation. For me, I think the most difficult part of the startup lifecycle is prototyping, as I have limited experience in this area. However, we stood up to the challenge through effective communication and cooperation within the team.
Q5.List five words that describe your team.
Friendly, energetic, open-minded, reliable and inspiring.
Q6.Anything you want to say to your competitors?
Compete with each other and cooperate with each other.
Q7.What would you like to say to the future APIAers? Are there any suggestions for participants next year?
Stick to your original idea and use every change you have to listen and learn from the best. Wish you all an enjoyable experience with this program.
Q8. Many university students are confused about their career development. What are the reasons you chose to start your path in entrepreneurship with APIA?
The overwhelming reason is that I want to learn about the exact process of starting a business from scratch. I want to know about how our generation can change the rules of traditional markets, and I want to be exposed to these inspirational and talented individuals who can “make it happen”.
Q9.Why did you want to switch teams during team formation?
Well, my original teammates wanted to develop a business idea centered around artificial intelligence, and would require people with advanced computer science background. Apart from professional skills and knowledge based consideration, more importantly I think we should follow our hearts and choose what really interests us.
Q10.What do you think about the innovation and integrated development of the Bay Area economy? Do you have some advice to the development of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau Bay Area, in terms of the technological innovation?
I think Hongkong and China mainland have different advantages. However, in terms of disadvantages, it is obvious that Hongkong and Macau really need to cooperate with Guangdong for pushing technological innovation development, because Guangdong has strong technology industry. Meanwhile, Macau and HK should embrace new technology with open minds.