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Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation Announces Winners of Two Innovation Competitions

Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation Announces Winners of Two Innovation Competitions

© Mikhail Dmitriev / HSE University

The winners of the KIVO Education Innovation Competition and the Innovator’s Voice all-Russia contest of youth social and educational innovations have been announced. Both competitions were organized by HSE University: KIVO 2021 in partnership with the Rybakov Foundation with support from the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, and Innovator’s Voice with support from the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs.

The KIVO Education Innovation Competition is well known in the professional community. Since it was first held in 2014, it has featured over 4,000 projects from across Russia and abroad. Participants include school and university students, teachers, young people getting their start in the business world—anyone interested in education innovation. This year’s competition had an international component courtesy of the KIVO-Kazakhstan track.

The Innovator’s Voice all-Russia contest of youth social and educational innovations was held for the first time this year. Unlike KIVO, it is largely aimed at a youth audience—at least half of each participating team must include innovators younger than 35. Competition tasks include developing social elevators for young people and supporting grassroots innovations.

The finals of both competitions took place simultaneously in a hybrid format. The venue for the in-person event was provided by the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation.

The two winning projects of KIVO 2021 were WM Products—a Moscow-based service for adapting educational websites and apps for visually impaired people— and QPSY, a Kazakhstan-based platform that provides free and anonymous psychological counselling for school students. WM Products was also named the best project in the Innovator’s Voice competition (projects were allowed to enter both competitions at the same time).

WM Products was created by Daniil Khachaturov, a blind student of the hospital school of the LearnKnow federal educational project. Daniil’s mentor is Gulshat Suhanova, lecturer of the Institute of Education at HSE University. The HSE News Service reported on Daniil and his platform this summer when his project won first place in the ‘Idea’ category of the HSE Startup Cup held by the HSE Business Incubator.

Gulshat Suhanova and Daniil Khachaturov
© Mikhail Dmitriev / HSE University

QPSY is the creation of Zhumabay Nurdaulet and Alimusen Beket, two developers from Nur-Sultan. They received support from Aigul Akhmetova, lecturer at Abai Kazakh National Pedagogical University. QPSY offers access to a free space for resolving school students’ issues and offering professional support. This is a valuable alternative for children who do not want to talk about their problems with their parents, school counsellors or paid specialists.

WM Products was awarded an educational grant as a prize, while QPSY received a grant for the 90 Days Challenge programme from Impact Hub Moscow.

Many other teams among the finalists were awarded special prizes. For example, the Prosveshcheniye education holding, who established the ‘New Thinking’ category, provided media and educational support to the ‘Khimichim doma vmeste’ project, an online platform for chemistry-related educational courses and events for school students. In the ‘Digital Transformation’ category, the IZIDZ project (which aims to help school children with their homework) was awarded 250,000 roubles in advertising promotion by the Dnevnik.ru digital education platform, as well as a six-month membership to the Impact Club from the Impact Hub Moscow centre for social innovation and entrepreneurship.

Ekaterina Rybakova, President of the Rybakov Foundation

We have been a co-organiser of the KIVO competition for many years, and I am always glad to be involved in the finals. The competition creates an atmosphere of innovation, creativity and youthfulness regardless of the ages of the participants. That’s because the energy of youth is in development, flexible thinking, and the ability to react to change. It is also in the ability to stay focused on the firm values that lie at the heart of education: humanity, inclusivity, creativity, and entrepreneurship in the broadest sense of the word.

Isak Froumin, Head of the HSE University Institute of Education

State education policy in Russia today is rather rigid and strictly defined—this is very important in ensuring unified standards of access to education and high standards of quality. In these circumstances, it is also vital to retain innovation and initiatives, and our education innovation competition is one of a number of tools to support them. We are happy to provide scientific and organizational support for the competition alongside our partners from the Rybakov Foundation.

Diana Koroleva, Head of the HSE University Laboratory for Educational Innovation Research, Creator and Director of the KIVO Education Innovation Competition and the all-Russia Innovator’s Voice contest

Our competitions encourage the generation and support of the educational innovation development ecosystem in Russia. Numerous competition projects go on to become well known and influence the entire education system. The competitions foster a community of enterprising, proactive people—including those who study and work within the education system and those from other fields. All of them are ready to change the system, implement their solutions and adopt innovations.

The team of the Laboratory for Educational Innovation Research at HSE University monitors changes in the education market and travels to other Russian regions to observe and analyse innovations on-site. Our research shows that in conditions of continual resource limitations, attracting people from outside the system and encouraging grassroots initiatives are serious drivers of future transformation in education.