A good idea is just the start, to bring it to life it must be pragmatic enough to work in the real world and have genuine commercial potential. This is the piece of advice that Rohit Pal took away from his Shell Ideas360 mentor after competing in the very first season of this competition, which looked to find the most innovative ideas to solve the problems of delivering sustainable energy, food and water.
Rohit entered Shell Ideas360 as part of a multidisciplinary team during his 4th year of studying applied petroleum engineering at the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies in Dehradun, India. His team came up with a smart idea to create energy from biodegradable food waste and, whilst it had potential, he admits that they hadn’t really thought about how it might work in the real world.
“We never thought about doing any commercial analysis of our idea, we just focused on our Unique selling point. Our mentor from Shell made us realise even if you have a great idea it has to be commercial and practical enough to applied in our daily lives”, explains Rohit.
Advice like this has proved invaluable to Rohit’s own career: “Our mentor gave us insight into the industry and the way energy giants think about the world, helping us to understand Shell’s long term vision about sustainability and our planet”, Rohit explains. This insight is part of the reason that he now works for Shell himself as an Process Data Engineer.
Like every student who enters the competition, he found himself up against teams from all over the world, reflecting the diversity of the modern workplace. This has also been reflected by his own experiences at work as he has moved from his home in India to work for Shell in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Thanks to his own positive experience, Rohit has now taken on the role of mentor himself, helping a team from India to refine their idea as part of stage two of the Shell Ideas360 competition. “I am still learning all the time at work and the students come up with great ideas, so I wanted to learn from and understand their new and different perspectives”, explains Rohit on his decision to become a mentor.
As an alumnus of the competition, Rohit understands how valuable the expertise and insight offered by mentors, masterclasses and webinars during Shell Ideas360 can be for years afterwards. “The holistic approach of seeking long term, sustainable solutions, taught by our mentor, is how I approach any problem in my career now”, he explains.
As mentor, Rohit’s recipe for success is simple: “The winning combination is to passionately work on your idea, pump all your energy behind it and use anything you can get from your team mates and mentors to improve it as much as possible.”