The youth is the best landmark of a nation. They are the most active and dynamic force among all the social forces. The hope and future of a nation lie in the youth. Pujiang Innovation Forum focuses on youth power, gathers young talents, builds a stage for young scientists to actively make their voice, and enhances the innovative influence of the youth group. In this episode, Xu Yihang, as the youngest speaker in the history of Pujiang Innovation Forum, once gave a speech at the cultural forum themed "Makers and Social Innovation" in 2015. Now he is studying at the University of Rochester in the United States for double degrees in Electronic & Computer Engineering and Economics. Now let's take a look back at his innovation story (arranged according to the speech transcript):
Learning Style of “Naughty Kid”
Xu Yihang defines himself as a "naughty kid" for he is particularly fond of playing. He studied at Shanghai YK Pao School without the pressure of the college entrance examination. He believes that there is no real learning with knowledge alone, and real learning can only be achieved by turning things into reality. So he kept spending his weekends in the maker space and kept trying all kinds of weird things.
Xu Yihang believes that every child's learning varies. Every child should have his/her own learning content in different ways. Different from the in-class teaching method, the students in the maker space are encouraged to work as a team and realize their ideas through teamwork. It provides equipment, and teachers are not here to instill knowledge, but to inspire students to innovate. Xu Yihang will transform the knowledge he saw on the Internet into applications, which is a way for him to learn. For a maker, maker space is more of a platform for creating, making things and learning and sharing.
There is no age limit for innovation
From his perspective, makers must first be interest-oriented and not restricted by book knowledge, but makers do not have to start a business. "To become a maker, there are no limits on foundation and age."
In 2015, Premier Li Keqiang visited Chaihuo Makers Space, which has aroused huge interest in makers across the country. But as far as Xu Yihang is concerned, this craze has not been felt in his age group. In his international high school, many teachers and students still didn’t know about the 3D printer. Even when he proposed to the teacher to build an association and buy a 3D printing device, the teacher said that the school didn’t have room for it. Many people had no concept of innovation, and the phrase “open source” had no meaning to them. This strengthened Xu Yihang's belief in spreading innovation by himself. He immediately put his ideas into action by buying the equipment with the crowd-funded 6,000 CNY, spending 30 consecutive hours in making a 3D printer, and giving it to his school. He hoped to use crowd-funding to get more people involved in his project, and let them know what a 3D printer is and what the maker culture means. By driving students of his age to innovate together, he makes everyone feel that there is no age division in innovation.
He has participated in many competitions and made many friends. He himself opened a maker space in Tongji University, hoping to teach others in this way and gain knowledge through sharing with others as well.
Many young people like Xu Yihang express their innovative dreams at the Pujiang Innovation Forum, and their future is promising. Pujiang Innovation Forum pools the strengths of the youth to create a truly vibrant "circle of friends". Since 2018, Pujiang Innovation Forum has added YES SUMMIT, as a feature sub-forum. It invites young scientists and pioneers of innovation and entrepreneurship under the age of 45 every year to focus on fields and topics that may have disruptive breakthroughs in future scientific and technological changes, carry out cross-industry collisions and sharing, convey the voices of youth, highlight the power of the youth, and build a pragmatic and effective dialogue platform for young innovative talents. It is positioned as youth, elite, and scientist, with the vision of focusing on the youth-shaping power, the construction of an innovative eco-system, and the trend of sustainability. The world is yours, as well as ours, but in the final analysis, it depends on the youth.