Multinationals Issue “Innovation Challenge” to IESE MBAs

High stakes and prizes for winners, says Innovation and Design Thinking Club

09/02/2016 Barcelona

IESE Business School

IESE Innovation Challenge – giving MBA’s the chance to change the world / Photo: Ismael Martínez

“Businesses need to keep up with customers’ constantly changing needs to truly create value.”

So says IESE MBA candidate Hugo Providente, officer of the IESE Innovation and Design Thinking Club. “To do so, companies are increasingly turning to design thinking – or solution-based thinking that draws on logic, imagination and intuition to create outcomes that benefit the customer.”

With this in mind, Providente and his colleagues from the Innovation and Design Thinking Club have issued a singular challenge to fellow IESE MBAs this month.

The IESE Innovation Challenge will put students through their design thinking paces with three distinct business challenges that have been devised by Samsung Electronics, Santander Bank and asset management multinational, Aegon Group.

Service design expert, Livework Studio, has also partnered with the Innovation and Design Thinking Club to lead student workshops in design thinking and customer-centric innovation tools. And IESE faculty Tony Davila, Paulo Rocha e Oliveira and Kandarp Mehta will be on hand to provide guidance and mentorship.

The Innovation Challenge

A design thinking gauntlet has been thrown down by each of the participating companies.

Samsung Europe’s Business Innovation Unit has invited MBAs to think about why and how consumers leave their televisions switched on in the home without watching them. The challenge is to design an “ambient TV mode” that consumers will find attractive.

The winning team will be invited to visit Samsung Europe’s London headquarters – and to present their idea to senior executives at Samsung.

Santander Global Innovation Department’s challenge focuses on “fintech” – financial technology – in the U.S., the U.K., Spain and Mexico. Teams are invited to investigate why SMEs are failing to adopting digital platforms; and identify the key factors in building fintech services and new business models for SMEs.

All participants will be invited to Santander’s Madrid headquarters, and the winning team will receive 1000 Euros.

Staying with fintech, Aegon has invited MBAs to look at the case of its Brazilian joint venture, Mongeral-Aegon. Students are challenged to explore how design thinking can help Aegon connect with customers in the digital age, with a specific focus on new business models, big data, customization, positioning, transparency and customer education.

Along with a prize of 1000 Euros, Mongeral-Aegon will cover travel and accommodation costs in Rio for the winning team, who will be invited to attend client interviews – and to present to the board.

Livework will put teams through their paces at each stage of the design thinking process during the workshops. They’ll be shown how to empathize, define and ideate. Then create a prototype and finally test it.

Winners will be announced at the Innovation Summit, March 30.

Up for the Challenge?

The Innovation Challenge kicked off with a design thinking bootcamp at the end of January, and registrationis open until Wednesday February 10.

Co-organizer, Caio Oliveira, welcomes the initiative and cites design thinking as the “core of decision making at Apple.”

Putting customers and their needs at the core is what makes Apple one of the world’s most valued companies. As more value is created for the client, value is captured by the company.”

Oliveira also points to Airbnb: “In 2009 they used design thinking to save their flailing start-up. By changing tack and putting themselves in the ‘skin’ of their clients, they doubled their revenue. And disrupted the hospitality industry. So with design thinking it really is all to play for.”

Find out more

Register here