The children of energy building the cities of the future
She learnt how to use an electric soldering iron, then started studying electrochemistry and began to find her way among cables and wires. Maria Camino is a 16-year old Spanish girl who has become one of the central characters of We are Energy, the international programme for the young and very young, aged 8 to 17, from 23 countries and 5 continents.
We are Energy addresses the children of Enel's huge worldwide professional family. Every year, since 2004, its participants are drawn into discovering the world of energy. In the 2016 edition, the young people tested their abilities in Open up the Future, a contest that asked them to invent, conceive and build real projects.
The great worksite of ideas
Scientists would say that Maria Camino has created a system based on the chemical principle of bioluminescence. Her account is much simpler: she says that her project "Luminescent lamps was conceived by watching the fireflies in the sky at night and discovering that some fish have 'natural luminaries' that enable them to shed light on the darkest sea depths. I asked myself how they could possibly produce their own light and I tried to reproduce their system".
“The Open up the Future contest of We are Energy 2016 involved young people in a collective mission: building together the city of the future”
Like in a large worksite where everyone cooperates together, We are energy collected ideas and suggestions from the young people in every field of everyday city life.
Maria's lamps, was accompanied by other inventions, like the Commuter bike created by Tom McGee, a 9-year old boy from the United States, who designed a multi-passenger electric bicycle, and The Building I'd like by Italian 9-year old Filippo Cucculelli, who conceived a residential condominium that even has a smart cycle path.
The ideas form a long list that includes projects such as "Smart city: making the world a better place", a study made by 15-year old Adam Šarišský from Slovakia, and the documentary "How I imagine the city of the future?", by 17-year old Sofia Vera from Chile.
Inventing beyond schemes
The 125 winners of the 2016 edition, who came from 17 countries, gave shape to their ideas in a thousand different ways, creating scale models, interactive videos, technical drawings, as well as animated rhymes and comic strips.
The prize for these young "builders of the future" was a two-week stay in Italy, in the Ciclamini ad Avigliano Umbro estate (Terni, Italy), as part of an international campus including games, parties, lessons, workshops. An energy full-immersion that can be re-experienced visiting the We are Energy Facebook profile.
Innovating, or that is never stop learning
The Celebration day, held at Enel's Auditorium in Rome on 21st July, terminated the entire proceedings, begun in December 2015, showing the fruits of this ongoing worksite.
During the celebration day, presented by Natasha Stefanenko, the We are Energy youngsters also interviewed Enel's Chairman Patrizia Grieco and Chief Executive Officer Francesco Starace live.
“They asked Enel's top managers how they used to imagine the future when they were children and how they go about building it now that they are adults and have the responsibility of a global company”
The young winners of We are Energy celebrated with their parents and were the absolute leading lights, giving everyone a masterful lesson. Ask a young person to describe how he or she imagines the city of the future. Listen carefully to them. Their dreams and questions may contain ideas that are far more interesting than many 'grown-up' projects. And that there's a lot to learn.