On November 15, the EADA Annual Meeting (EAM) –including the official closing ceremony for the 2017-2018 academic year– was held at the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya in Barcelona. During the event, experts from a cross section of industries shared their reflections on the new VUCA world and its impact on business today, and awards were given out to participants from the class of 2018 from EADA’s International Masters and MBA programmes as well as executive education.
The Best Final Project Award went to “ABLE: improving your quality of life, one step at a time”, completed by International Master in Management participants Adrián Díaz (Spain), Nicolás Ibáñez (Chile), Chris Juchem (Germany), Hector Pérez (Spain), Lars Jacob Sjaastad (Norway) and Charlotte Vo (Vietnam/Norway). The project was part of the Market Assessment Program (MAP), a programme with the mission of bringing research based sci-tech projects to the market. This programme is carried out through a collaboration with ACCIÓ and the EADA Entrepreneurship Centre.
The potential MAP consulting projects for the MiM class of 2018 were presented in December 2017, and the final teams were formed in January 2018. Members of the winning team highlighted the group’s diversity and commitment to a common goal. “We had the perfect combination of backgrounds and personalities in our group,” says Adrián. “There was a mechanical engineer plus other members with strong financial and analytical skills. I contributed with the qualitative interview skills that I learned during my bachelor’s in psychology.”
Chris identified the MiM leadership modules as great preparation for such intense teamwork. “The soft skills developed in the Residential Training Campus laid the groundwork for working in a team with different characters and nationalities,” he confirms. “Communication and transparency throughout the project helped to align our goals and ensure that we were always on the same page.”
The group worked as consultants for the research project ABLE, helping the entrepreneurs take their first steps into the market. “The entrepreneurs were outstanding in every way,” says Charlotte. “Their motivation, dedication and commitment from the very beginning were key to the success of our project.”
The consulting project culminated in July with the presentation of a comprehensive business plan for bringing a new low-weight, low-price exoskeleton to market. The product promised to disrupt the current market by offering unique solutions for the rehabilitation of spinal cord injuries. According to Lars, the team was inspired by the work of ABLE. “One of the most important things I learned was the importance of passion,” he says. “We loved the idea behind the ABLE product from the start. Loving what you do and having a genuine interest in performing well is truly the best motivator.”
While all of EADA final projects are practical in nature, allowing students to apply what they have learned in real companies, the ABLE project was particularly challenging due to the nature of the biotech field and the amount of data that needed to be collected. The frenetic pace at which change takes place in this area combined with the wide range of stakeholders involved meant that the MiM participants had their work cut out for them.
According to Adrián, the most challenging aspect of the project was the sheer volume of information collected. “The research that we conducted to develop the market access plan was very detailed,” says Adrián. “We had to draw from a wide variety of sources and reach out to diverse professionals in the field.”
For Héctor, it was the final step of putting all of the pieces together that was the most challenging. “We had collected a lot of information and insights from our research: interviews, articles and expert opinions,” he says. “The issue was how to create a coherent ‘story’ with all of this information.”
Three of the 5 group members were able to attend the award ceremony in November 2018, where they shared a bit about their experience and expressed special thanks to the ABLE entrepreneurs and the project tutor.
Today, ABLE is in a € 500,000 funding round that will be the final step in creating a robust, certifiable product with a launch scheduled for 2020. Alfons Carnicero, the entrepreneur behind ABLE, is pleased with the worked of the MiM consultants. “From the beginning, the group was fully involved in the project, presenting their progress at monthly meetings and listening as we defined the next steps,” he says. “The result has been a compelling business plan with a validated product-market fit and business model, a plan that will be very useful in achieving our next milestones.”