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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Soccket ball: Energizing the world by play


Preamble:
RECENTLY, it was an exciting week for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) when he played host to a 25-year-old Nigerian, Ms Jessica Matthews, who invented a power-generating football tagged SOCCKET ball.

DigitalSENSE Business News gathered that the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Unchartedplay, Ms Matthews, was at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to present the ball, capable of generating a three-hour light from 30 minutes of play to President Jonathan, in addition to presentation of an energy-generating skipping rope to the President.

Jonathan applauds Jessica:
Congratulating Ms Matthews on her creative invention, Jonathan expressed excitement on Matthews ability to train as a psychologist and economist, and transform by developing herself in the field of other sciences.
He said Matthews invention is a proof of the quality of human resource existing in Nigeria.

The invention, he said, was useful as a major tool that could be used to mobilise young Nigerians and encourage them to think more deeply.

My inspiration:
In her remarks, Matthews said that sometimes power is lost and she wonder on what could be done to solve the situation.

“… I saw my cousins and everyone playing football, playing with everything not even with football alone. I say this is amazing and they can rival Messi. If we can take this kinetic that is generated here and use it to address the issues that we really have; kinetic energy is used for windmill, why not the ball?” she declared.

She said although the items were already on sale in New York, she had not started making them in Nigeria.
She, however, said when they would be made available for sale in Nigeria, the cost would be equivalent to what people pay for a solar inverter.

The mission of her company, she disclosed is to “Foster well-being by inspiring people to lead playful lives.”
Manufacturing locally and Harvard connection:

For the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Segun Aganga, the Federal Government was looking at the possibilities of manufacturing the items in Nigeria and how to make them cheaper for Nigerians.

“Jessica is a Nigerian, she studied at Harvard University, and she went to Business School and actually taught herself Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. So, she is an inspiration to every Nigerian especially our children in Nigerian universities. This is a product not only for Nigeria, but a product made in Nigeria by a Nigerian and for the world,” he said.

Emphasizing that additional thing is that the Soccket ball product is actually versatile, which entails that it is not just about the electricity, “You can use it to charge your mobile phones, for fans, so there are so many things for which it can be used.”

Explaining further, Ms Matthews who was accompanied by her father Mr. Matthew alongside some of her top management team, said that Soccket was born out of passion to harness the football skills among lovers of the game, since it has become a global phenomena, hence Soccket is a soccer ball that generates electricity as you play.

Cardinal points:
On the product development approach, she said that this is centred on three cardinal points, namely care, embrace and amplify. She explained that for care, UP want each project to have a positive impact on people and the environment, thus they strive to include all stakeholders in the development process to create practical products that are driven by the company’s mission.

So, because they want people of all race to embrace the product its development is driven by first-hand information receive from partnering Non-Government Organisation (NGO), which often are testimonials about positive experiences and then these are used as the starting point for potential solutions.

Equally to amplify the product, she pointed out that typical design interventions require users to adopt new behaviors for successful implementation, therefore, the team focus on creating products that amplify existing behavior.

Playing to dreams:
What began in May of 2011 as a dream saw Jessica O. Matthews and Julia Silverman founding Uncharted Play (UP); a new kind of social enterprise that has continued to show the world that doing good and doing good business need not be mutually exclusive.

According to Jessica, Uncharted Play dream began in 2008 when Matthews and Silverman met during their junior year at Harvard College. Both studying to be social scientists with no experience in engineering, but driven by passion, she worked with her partner on a number of class project to invent the SOCCKET, which today is reputed as an energy harnessing soccer ball.

Through this experience, both women realized that the world of play was truly uncharted territory when it came to tangibly addressing real issues facing the society. Though the future was uncertain, they knew that an enterprise grounded in sustainable, realistic solutions for happiness had an undeniable value.

DigitalSENSE Business News gathered that after graduating from college, Messrs Matthews and Silverman set up shop in New York City and established an enthusiastic team to further develop the founders core values. Hence, the SOCCKET constantly reiterated its position to truly meet the needs of the end user, and development on several other fun and functional products has already begun.

Playful lives:
With the Uncharted Play mission being to “Foster well-being by inspiring people to lead playful lives” banking on for-profit social enterprise dedicated to improving lives through play. She maintained that UP flagship product is the SOCCKET, an energy harnessing soccer ball.

One dreams as posited by the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Aganga, that soon than later, that Nigerians will began to feel the impact of this Nigerian-linked invention to not only bring energy to the people, but also save the world of demerits of current energy generation tactics, devoid of the kind of promise made Dr. Izuogu, a Nigerian who designed a car locally and 16 years later, the Federal Government could not facilitate grants for him to take the project beyond theorem.


*Remmy Nweke
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