Investigate – Ancel Bhagwandeen
“It’s been too hard historically for people with ideas to find a way to manifest them. You have to persist and persist and persist. For the first time in Trinidad’s history, we have a material process that is changing that.”
What made you believe your idea was worth applying to the programme?
At any given time I have a couple dozen ideas which I would hope to turn into something. Really the i2i process was an opportunity. With any person who wants to create something, taking risks is a part of the game. Here was a new opportunity and it was a small risk: a little time, a little thought and perhaps a good result. There is no idea that is not good enough. The ideas are just different and what we need to recognise is that it only takes a small difference to make a big difference later on. You never know what that can spin off into. For instance you may have a concept that can spawn other ideas because when ideas come together you get the synergy and new results pop out of the woodwork. So something that you could never have predicted happens and all because you had a simple idea that was just a little different from your neighbour’s idea. In that regard, all ideas are important. Ideation is probably the most important thing. Never be afraid that your idea will be scoffed at, it’s part of life, it’s part of human nature.
What inspires you?
Doing new things all the time inspires me. Ideas strike you when you are sleeping. Ideas strike you when you are doing something else and they don’t let you go. You can put them aside and they’ll come back. It’s best to deal with them and think about them so that you satisfy yourself that the idea is worth something today or might be worth something tomorrow. You may have an idea that is too early for its time. The technology of the day can’t produce it but technology of tomorrow can. So don’t throw away ideas. They change the world.
What advice do you have for entrants?
The largest challenge that most people face, if their idea is a technical one and they are non-technical, is how to get it translated into a document that shows competency. The i2i process requires a demonstration of competency and capability to deliver on the idea. So if a school teacher has an idea of how to make a rocket ship, what does she or he do? You need a certain level of support either through friends or family to help you with producing the technical support document. In terms of preparation, sometimes the ideas come randomly. You are dealing with chaos and you have to change it into some form of order to be acceptable to people who are trying to evaluate your idea. So what you need to do is write the document, put it down for a day or two, then rewrite the document. Do it about three times. If you can, get somebody to read it and pick out the simple errors, grammatical errors or the information that is not clear. It’s a trick to take an idea, wash it through a process and feed it into a bureaucracy, and come out with result at the tail end of it. That is the challenge.
Ancel Bhagwandeen submitted Battery Déjà vu, a product that reverses lead battery failures bringing them back to power capacity, in 2012 and Rhythms & Hues, Sticks & Tones, electronic tenor performance pan sticks, offering sound-triggered multicoloured light displays to augment pan performances, in 2013.