At CARIRI our flagship development known as the Centre for Enterprise Development (CED) is aimed at facilitating not only Research, Development and Innovation capacity building but also the fostering of business creation and expansion through the use of ICT. Through this medium, the Centre can potentially enhance CARIRI’s contribution to Government’s enunciated goals of economic transformation, employment and income generation and the achievement of sustainable development.
On Friday 10th February 2017 one of our more prominent entrepreneurs Mr. Brian Benoit launched his book and interactive website Panimation- Legends of Panerica that utilizes Steel Pan characters to tell stories of the Steel Pan evolution. The Steel Pan is the most revered instrument in our twin islands as it holds a treasured place in our culture, society and history. Its rhythm is synonymous with our Carnival spirit in Panorama and greatly impacts Trinbagonian culture.
CARIRI’s first encounter with Brian would have been through the Idea to Innovation Programme in 2014 where CARIRI’s role was to provide ongoing technical, procurement and project monitoring support toward the year long journey to proof of concept for Brian’s Panimation project. During this period, illustrations of the characters, storyboard and the script for the first episode were completed for the animated series, as well as, a 30 second trailer. While proof of concept was achieved, the question still remained, how will Panimation reach the market? The projected production cost for the pilot episode was not financially feasible for Brian and his team. The project was stuck at this point and there was uncertainty in Brian’s mind as how to move forward.
In May 2016, Brian submitted his project via CARIRI’s Idea Advisory Service (IAS) platform and now nine months later; his product is ready for the market. It was established that based on market research that the more practical initial next step would be to develop and launch a storybook with an interactive website.
CARIRI has recognized that there are many persons like Brian with innovative ideas but simply do not know how to take their ideas forward. CARIRI has also recognized that many great ideas are not commercialized because of a disconnect between the idea, what the market wants and how the product or service is evaluated by the market. The Idea Advisory Service provides a platform where anyone (regardless of age, religion, job status, etc) can submit their ideas and we work with them to move their ideas forward to market.
The IAS team confidentially assesses the inventor’s ideas by determining novelty of the idea and provides advice on which intellectual property tool would be most relevant in securing the idea. In this regard, we work very closely with our Intellectual property office. In the case of Panimation, the pan characters used in the storybook and interactive website were trademarked.
The IAS Team evaluates market demand and identifies and strengthens the benefits of the idea to the target market. For the Panimation animated series, market research was conducted with over 200 persons who indicated that it was a fantastic idea to educate children by using animation, given that the target audience is 6 – 9 year olds.
The implementation of an interactive website would provide an opportunity for children to be introduced to Steelpan in a more creative, interactive and innovative way, as well as make the Pan Academy more easily accessible digitally. With assistance from CARIRI, an interactive website and animations were developed by Lab 206,The storybook will later on be aided by a mobile application with augmented reality technology and will serve as a prequel to an animated TV series.
Through creative storytelling, the children will also be taught how to be a good friend, obey their parents and elders and the importance of education. The vision for Panimation is not only to teach about steel pan and culture but also eventually be used to teach kids basic math and language skills.
The IAS team once satisfied with the proof of business offers two pathways to commercialization either via business start-ups or licensing. In Brian’s case he chose to expand his product line of his existing business and in that regard CARIRI’s Business Incubator programme offered Brian and his team an enabling environment to benefit from our full range of business support service to aid in development and to transition his business.
Mr. Brian Benoit has found a way to embody the watchwords of CARIRI, “Innovation is Creativity being Implemented” with his local innovation Panimation- Legends of Panerica. The series is extremely appealing to youths and can enhance their interest in our National Instrument the Steel Pan. It is also very educational in nature and imparts life lessons on morals and perseverance which will serve as an inspiration for the youth of Trinidad and Tobago to become “all that they can be.” With this cultural book he shines a spot light on Steel Pan and brings it alive in many creative ways using animation.
CARIRI provides a wide range of services and facilities available to the inventors. At our Centre for Enterprise Development, Freeport we have our Microsoft Innovation Centre and MCentre to assist with app related ideas. Our 3D Printing lab provides 3D Modelling, 3D Scanning and 3D Printing services for the development of a pretotype. Our offices at St. Augustine and Macoya are equipped with product development, calibration and testing equipment needed to serve a wide range of industries. Furthermore, CARIRI has existing networks within our reach including the World Association of Industrial and Technical Research Organizations (WAITRO) of which CARIRI is a founding member.
Over the past 20 months, the IAS Team has screened 165 ideas from various sectors – household, manufacturing, entertainment, health, mobile apps, agriculture, services and we continue to work with our inventors in moving their ideas forward. As part of CARIRI’s thrust to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, we are encouraging persons to submit their ideas to our Idea Advisory Service programme. There is no cost attached to the submission of ideas for screening. We know that our nation has many innovative creative minds like Brian and we ask these people to come forward.