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IMD MBA team wins Debiopharm-Inartis innovation challenge to improve lives of healthcare patients

Ceremony to celebrate winners took place at the Vaud Hospital Center (CHUV) in Lausanne, Switzerland
November 2017

A team of IMD MBA students was recently officially recognized as winners in the prestigious Debiopharm-Inartis innovation challenge. Kicked off in December 2016, the second annual Debiopharm-Inartis innovation challenge to improve the lives of healthcare patients was a resounding success with 83 teams competing, compared to 35 in 2016. With a total of CHF 50,000 in prize money, the competition attracted brilliant teams from the French-speaking region of Switzerland and beyond. Participants included the entire IMD MBA class who spent a week in an intense innovation module at Univercité, an innovation fab lab, spending time with real life healthcare patients, coming up with new ideas, and learning how to pitch them.

According to IMD Professor Cyril Bouquet, who organized the innovation-centric week and IMD’s participation in the Debiopharm-Inartis challenge: “Companies that innovate have always known the importance of approaching design thinking and innovation as an exploration process. It’s a process that takes innovators out into the world to discover the problems real people face so they can create new solutions, prototype them and finally bring them to life.”

“Patients have to be at the center of our concerns,” said Thierry Mauvernay, President of Debiopharm Group at the ceremony. “The variety of projects in the competition have reinforced the idea that it is not always prohibitively expensive to considerably improve the quality of life of patients,” he added.

The IMD MBA team’s project that was a co-winner in the competition was called Tremor and helps patients with chronic shaky limbs, like those with Parkinson’s disease, use a glass without spilling. The team was made up of Priya Mehra, Rahul Adhyapok, Jana Valkovicova, Javier Mendivil, Jonas Jafari and Mohammed Allam.

The other winner was a computer game designed for children, available on desktop computers and tablets, that allows future and present liver transplant patients learn more about their condition and treatment.

Both teams were provided CHF 5000 to develop their idea as a first step in the competition and will now split CHF 25,000 to continue the process.

“This year’s Debiopharm-Inartis innovation challenge reminds us that innovation can come from simple and sometimes low-tech ideas. That is certainly the case for Tremor, which started out as a high-tech and expensive solution which eventually became a prototype that is financially accessible and can be distributed widely,” said Benoît Dubuis, Inartis Foundation President and co-founder of the competition.

The Debiopharm-Inartis challenge was created to encourage and bring to life original ideas and tools which concretely facilitate, improve or enrich the lives of healthcare patients.

Find out more about innovation in IMD’s MBA program.

More coverage of the Debiopharm-Inartis Challenge:
*Two IMD MBA teams rewarded for innovation in the Debiopharm-Inartis Challenge
*Video of the IMD MBA innovation experience
*IMD MBAs immersed in innovation
*IMD MBAs prototyping ideas in the makerspace
*Cyril Bouquet discusses the IMD MBA Innovation Challenge
*Day 1 of the Innovation Challenge
*Day 2 of the Innovation Challenge

 - IMD Business School