”Don’t let anything hold you back” – this is how you change the world

© Mark Roe/Red Bull Content Pool
Thanks to Red Bull Basement winners Joanna Power and Paramveer Bhachu, you soon may be washing clothes with your shower water – and that’s not the only idea from 2020’s Global Workshop.
Written by Trish MedalenPublished on
More student teams than ever – over 3,800 from countries all over the world – applied for Red Bull Basement this year, looking to drive positive change on campus and beyond. Most of the ideas concentrated on sustainability solutions, with over 1,250 addressing education, nearly 1,000 involving accessibility and others tackling topics from smart cities to energy. For students of Brunel University London's Product Design course, Paramveer Bhachu and Joanna Power, the focus was clean water.
“The UK is set to run out of water in 25 years, and that’s scary,” says Paramveer. So to help, the team came up with their Lava Aqua X, a washing machine that collects water on the floor of nearly any shower, filters it and reuses the water to clean clothes. Not only does the Aqua X save time, money and resources, but if every student in the UK were to use it, enough drinking water could be saved for the entire population of Sweden.
“It’s better for the students, better for the environment,” says Paramveer.
Once chosen as the Red Bull Basement representatives for the UK, the Lava Aqua X team had five weeks to bring their product to life. Mentoring, workspace and other resources were provided.
“One of the first things we got for support was a 3D printer, which we had running non-stop to build our model,” says Joanna.
Paramveer adds, “We also got help with protecting our intellectual property, design rights and trademarks. If we could do all this in about a month, who knows what we can do in a year?”
Then came the Global Workshop, where all 38 finalist teams came together in a virtual environment where they could learn, collaborate and network with visionaries all over the world. Participants were able to get a hands-on podcast tutorial with Women in Tech host, Espree Devora, hear a keynote from Girlboss founder, Sophia Amoruso, and attend mentoring sessions on topics like self-leadership, building confidence and more.
“The workshops, like one on making a pitch, gave me things that I will take forward, even at university and in everyday life,” says Paramveer.
“On a personal level,” says Joanna, “seeing all these determined, amazing individuals with great ideas – all looking to make an impact – has given me a lot more hope for the next generation.”
The climax of the event came in the form of hologram images of the top 10 teams making their final pitch in a virtual-reality production studio to judges Mathias Haas (Founder/CEO of SuperSocial), Manjula Lee (Founder/CEO of World Wide Generation) and Ruth Rowan (CMO of NTT).
The Community Award was won by two students from Kenya, Abdul Rahman Rehmtulla and Hamisi Rawlins, who are in the process of creating a digital museum to capture disappearing cultures, as a result of a vote from the participants.
If you have an idea and you’re passionate about it, don’t let anything hold you back
Paramveer Bhachu
Joining Lava Aqua X in the top three were UniThink from Pakistan, a team of two women who have devised a field research aid, and students from Slovakia who have created Charging Revolution, a device charger that generates energy with a simple move of the hand.
“For us, this has been so motivating,” says UniThink partner Hira Siddiqui. “We learned about ourselves and we did things we never knew we could do. We realised that limits are only in our mind.”
As winners, Lava Aqua X will gain access to resources and contacts to help launch their product, but most of the participating teams intend to keep pursuing the ideas they've advanced in Red Bull Basement as well.
Paramveer has a message for all the other student innovators out there. “Today, there’s a real need for innovation,” he says. “So go for it. Do what you love. If you have an idea and you’re passionate about it, don’t let anything hold you back. You can change the world.”
Get inspired and keep up with Red Bull Basement all year long here.