Author:Hof, Karina

Students from the University of Medical Sciences and Technology, Khartoum, have won the Konica Minolta International University Contest 2017-2018. Their app, UMST 2.0, is designed to update and enhance their university's overall day-to-day operating system. Report by Karina Hof.

More like a professor, less like an undergraduate trying to convince a multinational corporation's appointed jury, 23-year-old Sudanese Sageda Hydoub asked the audience: "What do you think is the most valuable and least renewable resource that we all have as human beings?"

Hydoub had just taken the floor to begin her winning team's presentation at this year's Konica Minolta International University Contest award ceremony. It took place on 21 April, at the Japanese tech giant's spacious, bright-blue-accented offices in Amsterdam. Three jurors representing the worlds of academia, business and technology took notes, seated among the several dozen attendees, comprising Konica Minolta senior staff, student competitors and their supervisors.

"Yes! It is time," Hydoub enthused after the answer was called out. "So, we all feel chased by time in this hyper-productive world, and we feel like we need to do the most with the time that we're given." But being able to do so "is sometimes not the case in Sudan," she continued. "Our life is really slow and easy there, which is great most of the time, but also has dire consequences for organisations, including our university."

With that degree of self-awareness and nuanced ability to reflect on life circumstances, it was no surprise that the victory went to Hydoub and teammates Ghada Anis, Osama El Bushra and Malay Sheth. The Goal Diggers, as they dubbed themselves, all attend the University of Medical Sciences and Technology (UMST) in Khartoum, an undergraduate--and graduate-level institution that was privately established in 1995.

Essential innovation

Developed and sponsored by imaging and printing experts Konica Minolta, the competition challenges tertiary education students to devise innovative solutions for document and/or information workflows within their university. The Goal Diggers proposed a solution entitled "UMST 2.0". It is a mobile phone app intended, as its prototype name implies, to update and enhance their university's overall day-to-day operating system.

In a pilot study, the team had discovered that a lack of automation and linking across administrative processes was bogging down students and staff. One of the...

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