The University Battle 2018 – sounds like a competition? That’s what it is! But not on a sporting level. In this competition format in close cooperation with the Unibator, the start-up incubator of the Goethe University in Frankfurt, students from different universities compete against each other in an innovation competition in which, in addition to the most innovative solution, a prize pool of at least 20,000 € is also involved. So far, 20 universities, mostly from the Rhein Main area, are taking part in the University Battle. The starting signal is the first of October 2018.
Anyone who has already dealt a little more with the topics of digitization or business and industry 4.0 knows how important it is to rethink the innovation processes. This is where we come in and combine an open innovation with the huge student crowd of the participating universities.
In the fourth article Homo Innovatio on our blog you will find everything about Open Innovation and ekipa’s crowd teaming approach.
But for what exactly should students develop ideas?
Two organisations each formulate a challenge to a current problem with direct reference to the students. Whether it is the design of a digital product or the future orientation of one of the most vital industries, there will be a fixed starting point for each degree programme to penetrate the problem together. In particular, the clients will be presented online on the first of October.
So far so good. Students from different disciplines can come together to form teams within the university. This is made possible on our platform via a team arrangement process. In a team, the participants can collaborate together on the platform. This enables the team members to work on their ideas from anywhere and to share them directly with their team.
Once the teams have been put together, the first outlines of the solution to the problem are outlined. This takes place during the qualification phase, which runs until mid-November. An inspiring idea is important, because only the best teams from competing universities reach the next stage of the University Battle.
From then on it gets serious. The qualification phase is followed by the elaboration phase. The name says it all.
Here the initial idea is deepened and refined into a complex solution. In cooperation with the client, the teams receive detailed feedback in order to steer the elaboration in the desired direction. In addition, the finalist teams are coached by a professor from their own university. In order to further support the process, the teams will also go through a boot camp. During the boot camp, the finalists will be assisted by experts from business and science in order to reflect on and optimise the developed solution.
The end of the University Battle will be the final event where the finalists will have the chance to present their solutions to a jury. The jury is composed of representatives of the organizations and expert specialists. The jury advises the client on the final decision, but also asks the finalists questions that they have to answer. The festive event, held in the ballroom of the Goethe University, will be open to the public and attract media attention. All the more reason for the teams to put themselves in the foreground with the pitch of their solution. In the end, the jury and the client make a decision based on the previously assessed solutions and the final presentation and select the best teams.
So much for the basic format and procedure.
Prize money is awarded for each challenge. There is also the possibility of dusting off further prizes. Contrary to “The winner takes it all”, at the end of the battles the cash prize is divided among the four best teams per challenge.
But prize money and other rewards are not the end. An added value lies in the transfer from theory to practice. Students now have the chance to use what they stubbornly hammer into their heads!
What concrete added value does the University Battle create for the student participants in this competition?
By participating in the Battle, students open several doors at the same time. A vast amount of knowledge that is lost without practical relevance can be consolidated with real problems. In an interdisciplinary composition, students can also look beyond their own horizons. The interdisciplinary exchange not only promotes general knowledge, but also a rethinking of the students’ perspective. The probably