Schneider Electric Holds Design Thinking Workshop at NC State

NC State students spent some time this week Going Green with help from Schneider Electric. Part of their incentive was to win some green (cash money!) and a trip to Las Vegas. But they were also motivated to do some good for the world.

Katie White, HR Specialist with Scheider, started the workshop with a challenge: How does society help bring energy to the under-served, continue to meet growing energy demands, and not “wreck the planet”? As a global company, Schneider Electric is also working to meet this challenge. They provide energy and automation solutions for homes, buildings, data centers and industries to improve efficiency and sustainability. “But we really want new ideas,” said Katie. “And that’s why we’ve come to NC State.”

Schneider Go Green is a global competition where student teams from Universities around the world pitch their ideas for sustainable energy projects. The 2019 finals were in Barcelona where the winners from Rajasthan Technical University in India presented their idea to hundreds of Schneider employees for an eco-friendly, non-hazardous battery. 

Katie was not disappointed in the Wolfpack. She and two coworkers, Jerry Gentle and Tracie Miner, led students in some brainstorming exercises and helped them think through the process of developing a new product idea. The steps included understanding your client, exploring the ecosystem, finding their problems, focusing on a direction, validating your assumptions, and then planning your project. 

Some of the ideas included improved smart grid solutions, better materials and designs for solar panels, and programs to make renewable energy sources accessible to the homeless community. “I definitely left the event feeling proud to be an NC State Alum,” she said. 

Katie hopes several NC State teams submit applications and can go on to Las Vegas for the 2020 Finals and Schneider Electric’s Global Innovation Summit. The entry deadline for the North American Region is February 29th. Any students can submit their bold ideas whether they attended the workshop or not. More information on the Go Green Challenge and how to enter can be found at