Final of the EDHEC Open Innovation Challenge 2023
EDHEC Business School hosted the final of the 12th edition of the EDHEC Open Innovation Challenge on the School’s Lille campus in early March. This two-month annual competition brings together some 670 Master 1 Business Management students, who are organised into working groups and tasked with finding solutions to innovation-related problems presented by around 18 of EDHEC’s corporate partners, such as Capgemini, Carrefour, Deloitte, Galeries Lafayette, La Redoute and Renault.
During the final, all groups present their projects to the company’s managers, who then select the team proposing the most innovative solution to represent their company in the final stage. The finalists then pitch their solution again in front of the students, coaches and managers involved, as well as an external jury of specialists. Prizes (environment and sustainable development, best prototype, most disruptive idea, best pitch, etc.) are awarded according to the quality and content of the pitches.
The EDHEC Open Innovation Challenge give students the chance to apply the principles of open innovation, an approach that involves exploring and testing ideas and both internal and external expertise, in order to respond to the questions asked by the participating organisations. “During the EDHEC Open Innovation Challenge, the working groups interact frequently with experts (EDHEC professors, corporate professionals), in order to explore the maximum number of avenues for solving the problems presented to them”, explains Pierre-Jean Barlatier, Professor of Strategy and Innovation at EDHEC Business School and pedagogical leader of the Challenge. “The students are then invited to analyse other industries, to undertake consumer research on the ground and to use working methods that are typically employed in companies – such as design thinking or lean start-up methodology – to incorporate customer needs into the development of a product or service.”
The competition enable students to acquire skills through experimentation: “What’s important in the Challenge is not simply to fashion an idea that matches a need, but to provide a tangible solution through co-creation of a prototype with the company”, underlines Pierre-Jean Barlatier. Lastly, the exercise also requires students to deal with sustainable innovation issues: “the concept of sustainable development is tackled for each practical case, whether as a result of the type of challenge involved or through aspects entailed in the development of the solution”, specifies Pierre-Jean Barlatier.