100 Percent Solve Rate
Interview with IdeaConnection Problem Solver
Prashant Agrawal was born in India and studied for his bachelors and masters degrees in chemistry in his native country. In 2002 he moved to the Netherlands to do his PhD in biophysical chemistry. He is now working on the European project, MediTrans: targeted delivery of nanomedicine using molecular imaging.
He has worked on a number of challenges through IdeaConnection and so far has a 100 percent hit rate of winning awards. He spoke to IdeaConnection about his experiences as a solver.
IdeaConnection is a platform where I can use my knowledge to solve the challenges. I know there are websites where you can do this alone but the beauty of IdeaConnection is to do it to together in a team. For me, from my childhood onwards I have always worked with a team so it was a good match for me.
Being with a team is good for three reasons. The first is that you get different cultures, people from different backgrounds. Second you get different perspectives. And third is the sharing of the workload and responsibilities.
I have worked on four challenges and I am now working on another four.
What successes have you had?
So far so good. I submitted my first two and both were awarded, and the second two I am still waiting for an answer. So far I should say it's 100 percent.
What does the financial reward mean to you?
It's a great satisfaction. Most of my money I send back to my family in India so it helps. It is a very nice feeling.
Before you start on a challenge do you have an idea of what the solution will be?
Yes. When the invitation comes I generally look at the problem and I think about whether I have some solution in my mind or not. I don't like to work on challenges where I may not have a solution. I feel that if I don't know anything then being on a team will be like a dead weight. So I must always have some idea of what the solution will look like or which direction we will go in.
I learn a lot of new things when I'm working on the challenges. I find it very interesting. The first two challenges we submitted we knew as a team this might be the right way to go. And when it turns out to be the right way, it is a very good feeling.
The facilitator helps in a very interesting way. I never knew that the online facilitator concept existed. They help to bring things together and focus the teams in the right direction, and encourage lively discussions. They also help us to write down the solution in a way that looks, how shall we say? - sexy.
I'm a people person so I like working with strangers. Out of the 16 people I have worked with I'm still friendly with 15 of them. They don't remain as strangers after one week or so. That's a good part of working on the challenges.
What are the types of challenges you've worked on?
They have been very different kinds of challenges. I have worked mostly in my field of expertise; I was also active on a social challenge. Being a chemist I work on challenges for specific kinds of applications where people need an answer of some problem that can be used in the consumer market in the future.
I think IdeaConnection is a very good initiative. I find it very good. It's been a very jolly experience with a lot of adventure learning new things, and meeting new people.