The Marketing Disruptive Innovation Challenge 2023 was held at EADA’s Campus from the 18th to 21st of April. This challenge was one of the three challenges along with the Master in Management and Master in Sustainable Business & Innovation Challenge that formed the Disruptive Innovation Challenge 2023, which main aim was promoting innovative thinking and providing a platform for EADA participants to develop disruptive business ideas.
It showcased a variety of innovative and high-quality projects. Among all the projects, the winning project was Snex, a solution to educate the youth on safe sex, and decrease the high level of HIV infections in South Africa. South Africa has one of the highest numbers of HIV infected adults and children in the world, and Snex aims to address this issue by providing a unique and creative solution.
The team behind Snex comprised Enikő Ecseri (Hungary) Islam Mazhar (Egypt), Emma Persson (Sweden), Paola Ramos (Mexico), and Joana Ferraz Brito (Portugal). The team developed Snex from the idea of combining “snacks and sex” into a bag of chips where the packaging would be used as a communication tool. Inside the bag, a comic book about safe sex would draw attention to the issue and educate the young generation about safe sex. The team applied various frameworks they learned during the Disruptive Innovation Challenge, creating a simple and effective solution that is a clear example of a disruptive innovation.
We got in touch with the participants of the winning team and asked them to share their experience and feelings after this challenge.
Emma thinks that the biggest challenge she faced was the limited amount of time they had to come up with a disruptive and innovative idea. She feels proud to say that even in such a short and stressful amount of time, they gave their best. When we asked her how was the experience of working with her fellow colleagues and if their different backgrounds contribute in some type of way, she said that since they chose a topic (HIV) that is related to young adults, they felt super connected to it so that is why they all showed interest in the project from the beginning. She says she felt really lucky to be a part of this team because she felt no pressure of being judged, they all shared their ideas and experiences in a respectful and humorous way, and the fact that they were all international added to the fun.
When we asked Islam how they came up with the idea of Snex he said that it came to them when they were discussing the world’s biggest problems, especially in Africa, and they found information about high rates of teenage HIV infections in South Africa. They recognized that traditional methods of sex education were not effectively reaching this demographic and decided to explore a more innovative approach. To ensure that Snex would effectively educate young people on safe sex, they conducted extensive research through our KIC resources, (using Passport and Statista and the WHO and UNICEF) and they found sexually transmitted diseases is a pandemic in South Africa. Islam’s team researched the target audience’s behaviors, attitudes, and consumption habits and trends. This research guided the development of the messaging and design of the Snex product.
For Paola, the most rewarding part of the challenge was coming up with a real idea that could be part of the solution to a problem as important as HIV. Regarding the project itself, Paola said it was very interesting to learn about the situation of HIV in South Africa and that the data was shocking. More interesting was digging deeper and realizing one of the main reasons for the high rates of new infections is the lack of sexual education caused by the cultural taboo created towards sex. That is how her team came up with SNEX, trying to tackle sex education to prevent HIV instead of the HIV problem itself. The good news is that the rates of HIV related deaths have gone down exponentially thanks to the government and public association initiatives such as free treatment, HIV & AIDS counseling and testing campaigns, etc., working towards their goal to eradicate HIV by 2030 in the country; the bad news is that preventive solutions are still very limited.
Concerning the disruptive framework, Paola explains her most important insight from this challenge is when looking at something, in this case the problem, to dig deep and try to find where the problem comes from and it will be easier to create a solution that fits. Also, keep it simple: A disruptive idea does not necessarily have to be complex. A simple idea can also be disruptive, as long as it follows the framework: making the impossible possible, the exclusive inclusive, and accessible the inaccessible.
With the Marketing Disruptive Innovation Challenge, we bring the Disruptive Innovation Challenges 2023 edition to an end. We are proud to celebrate the remarkable achievements of the 140 participants from over 50 different countries, who were organized into 28 diverse teams. Together, they have developed a total of 28 distinct disruptive business ideas during the challenge, showcasing their exceptional talents and dedication to making a positive impact on the world.