Cameron - 8, 3, 1, Go

Hello again. This week I completed a major milestone. I selected the one solution that would become the focus of my remaining journey.

In my last blog, I had discussed my rationale for picking eight and then narrowing down to three options. Once again, I relied on my decision matrix to quantify my thoughts. Picking the final choice was both hard and easy. I was passionate about each of those problems, both from scientific and community benefit aspects. It was hard to pick just one. However, I was able to blend two of the three choices into my final selection, making the process a little easier.

There were many factors in my decision making including the following:

Time: Just like any other project, there is a timeline for this one. In this case, I must build a prototype of my innovation before the competition. For some of my ideas, there was not enough time.

Availability of Resources: This is an especially important one when working with vaccines. It is hard to get the necessary parts to make a vaccine, especially the antigens (actual virus or bacteria). It requires regulatory approvals and a qualified lab. Therefore, I had to eliminate some of the ideas.

Global Impact: I wanted to pick a project that would impact locally and globally. Although all inventions help a little, some will have a larger effect than others. The latter would serve humans in various socio-economic strata worldwide.

Of the above-mentioned factors, global impact was the biggest factor in my decision.

Through all of this, having access to my 3M scientist and mentor, Dr. Mahfuza Ali, has really helped me. She has given me second opinions. She has helped evaluate the pros and cons of each idea. She also suggested stepping back and looking at what is available in the marketplace before plunging headlong into the project. All that has been really helpful in determining just one idea.

Picking one topic is only a part of the process, albeit a hard one. There is still the research and design phases before I can build and test my final product. I feel that I have accomplished a lot so far, yet in some ways I am at the starting line. It is 8, 3, 1 and I am ready to GO!

Cameron Sharma