Earlier this month, 100 participants from the International Master in Management kicked off the first ever Innovation Challenge at EADA. During this 3-day intense competition, MiM participants worked in teams to produce disruptive innovation business ideas. Each team was mentored by a successful entrepreneur or business leader, who offered expert advice and unique insights into the business issue at hand.
The Challenge closed with pitches from the finalists and the announcing of the winning team, made up of 5 MiM participants: Oluwadamilola Lawal (Nigeria), Oddur Olafsson (Iceland), Jerome Overkamp (Germany), Lorenzo Paolini (Italy) and Carlota Valenti (Portugal). The team project, CRIB, aimed to develop a low-cost incubator solution to decrease infant mortality in specific target markets in developing countries.
We interviewed several member of the team to learn about their experience during the competition and to find out their formula for success.
Can you give a brief description of your winning idea?
Jerome: We started out wanting to reduce infant mortality in Nigeria. We tackled the issue by gathering information and researching to analyse the value for developing this type of solution. Once we identified a huge need in the market, the big factor was making it more simple – using less expensive materials, expanding to include a more diverse target group, and providing that group with an innovative solution besides traditional hospital-based care.
What was the most important thing that you learned?
Lorenzo: I learned how to create a product one step at a time while collaborating in a team. Together, we imagined what it would be like to build an incubator with low-cost resources and analysed how to bring incubators to other parts of the world where they are needed.
Carlota: Before the Innovation Challenge, I had never had imagined myself capable of creating my own startup. After these 3 intense days, I have learnt that it is possible to develop an interesting business plan from a single great idea.
What was the most rewarding part of the Innovation Challenge?
Oluwadamilola: I feel very privileged to have worked with my team – I learnt so much from them within a short period of time. We were committed to listening to each other’s opinions and ideas, and I believe that this was one of the main reasons why we were successful in the competition.
Carlota: The best part was working with people from diverse educational backgrounds and cultures. We could use the skills and knowledge of each team member to get the best result.
What was the most challenging part?
Oddur: The biggest challenge was gathering all of the pieces of our idea together and putting it forward in simple enough way so that people could understand it and feel the same way that we did about the problem – and ultimately delivering the idea that we wanted to communicate clearly.
What do you think makes a winning team?
Lorenzo: What makes a winning team are the team members – if they are able to collaborate effectively, then the team can be considered a winning team.
Oluwadamilola: What made us a winning team was the fact that we truly worked as a team: from identifying and investigating a social problem to brainstorming ideas and initiating a solution together. My advice for the future Innovation Challenge teams is to listen to each other’s ideas and work together.