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Published: 2024-04-22 Updated: 2024-04-23, 13:56

Innovation Camp: Students solving real-world challenges

NEWS In a collaboration between Umeå School of Business, Economics and Statistics (USBE), Olofsfors AB, and Umeå Kommunföretag, the Innovation Management course at USBE recently hosted a three-day Innovation Camp. The course objective is to develop the participating students’ innovation competencies in an interactive setting and positive atmosphere. For the 7th consecutive year, this intensive event fosters collaboration between academia and industry.

The Innovation Camp is an experiential learning opportunity for our master’s students. They worked together during the intensive workshop days with our company partners to develop innovative solutions for the companies’ challenges. The camp run on a design thinking platform and related methods to integrate the perspectives, resources, and activities of the companies with the prototypes of new products, services and systems developed by the students.

With a focus on practical application, the Innovation Camp provided students with the opportunity to leverage their skills and knowledge in a hands-on environment. Over the course of two and a half weeks, student teams prepared for the camp, culminating in the broad challenges presented by the partnering companies, Olofsfors AB and Umeå Kommunföretag. First, the student teams needed to analyse the challenge and define the area of focus, that followed by developing potential solutions and specifying the solution that worked. Coached by the company managers and the teachers the teams refined their ideas, leading up to a concluding pitch session where they presented their proposed solutions.

Following the camp, teams had one week to fine-tune their proposals for the final pitch. The Innovation Camp concluded with the partner companies selecting their winning teams, which were awarded certificates for their innovative solutions. This event not only provided students with invaluable real-world experience but also offered industry partners fresh perspectives and potential solutions to pressing challenges.

Students' insights from the Innovation Camp

This has been one of the most interesting experiences during my time at Umeå University

Anton Laine, one of the participant students, expressed his enthusiasm for the event's success.

­– This has been one of the most interesting experiences during my time at Umeå University. I believe that the challenges are way more interesting to work with when you get the chance to help a real organisation and provide them with a solution that actually matters. For anyone who is interested in the science and art of innovation management on a more advanced level I highly recommend this course.

We got the opportunity to apply all these theoretical concepts in a more creative way

Another student, Sadathana Wickramashinge, continues.

– The innovation camp was challenging but super fun! Right from the start with the brainstorming to the final pitch we got the opportunity to apply all these theoretical concepts in a more creative way. Since we came up with our own innovative ideas, it gave us the opportunity to actualize these theories in practice. The most important thing I learned during the camp is that if you want to be innovative you must try every possible way of failure by questioning your idea, to then find that one tiny spot that no one else has thought about, that is how your creative idea is born. All elements of the camp kept us engaged during the whole course and I am so thankful to all the teachers Zsuzsanna Vincze, Peter Gustafsson and Quang Evansluong.

The Innovation Camp is a part of USBE's commitment to bridging the gap between education and industry, preparing students to excel in an ever-evolving business landscape. With each edition, the camp continues to foster a culture of innovation, laying the groundwork for future collaborations and breakthroughs.