This Monday marked the beginning of the 3-day Innovation Challenge, an event designed to inspire International Master in Management participants to integrate innovative ideas and an entrepreneurial mindset into their business day. During the Challenge, 100 MiM students competed to produce the best disruptive innovation business ideas.
The Challenge opened with a brief explanation of the “rules of the game” and the division of participants into teams. Each team was assigned a mentor, a successful entrepreneur or business leader with unique insights on best business practices. The mentors came from diverse industries including tech, F&B and healthcare as well as the non-profit sector. Several of the mentors were also EADA alumni from International Masters and MBA programmes. “Getting feedback from a successful EADA entrepreneur was really inspiring,” says MiM student Nicole Solti. “I learned that it is important to think outside of your comfort zone – we needed to change our mindset to accept that there were no bad ideas.”
During the event, teams work through the disruptive innovation framework to develop a final business pitch, which is carried out in front of a tribunal made up of experts on innovation and EADA faculty.
Esther Defren, EADA alumna and Business Development & Strategic Partnerships at Audible at Amazon, was on the tribunal that selected the winning team. “Watching the presentations, I was reminded of myself as an EADA student 10 years ago,” she says. “It made me really happy to return as a tribunal member for the Innovation Challenge and see how I have grown and what I have achieved on a personal and professional level since then.”
The Challenge provides the opportunity for MiM participants to reflect on how their business ideas can impact the world around them. “The most important thing I learned is that the best ideas try to solve a big problem,” says Management student Maurice Jonquet. “The bigger the problem, the greater the impact. Although the project itself may be relatively simple, if it is able to improve the well-being of a lot of people, it is a great project with a potentially great outcome.”
One of the biggest challenges of the competition is the time constraints – students had to develop a pitch for their business idea after just a few hours. “Now I know just how much can be done in a short amount of time,” confirms MiM participant Julia Bachmann. “In one morning, we came up with a new business model including the mission, revenue generation stream, marketing and sales strategies and much more. This showed me that sometimes the most creative and outstanding ideas are developed under pressure.”
On the final morning, the 3 finalists teams were announced, and invited to an intense preparation lunch with their mentors to prepare for presentations in the afternoon. The winning team was announced after the finals, and was made up of Oluwadamilola Lawal (Nigeria), Oddur Olafsson (Iceland), Jerome Overkamp (Germany), Lorenzo Paolini (Italy) and Carlota Valenti (Portugal).