IMD business school, UEFA, ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne and ThinkSport have teamed up to create a unique and intense experience for MBA and Master in Design participants to learn about innovation. IMD’s MBA Innovation Week 2019 is a hands-on learning journey led by leading experts from the worlds of sports and business, taking place from 29 April – 03 May 2019.

The participants’ challenge is to create innovative new ideas for fans to experience live football. The main areas of focus are: mobilizing the city, being attentive to special needs, and enhancing the in-stadium experience. The winning ideas have a chance to be implemented during the finals of the UEFA Euro 2024 to take place in Germany.

IMD Professor of Strategy and Innovation Cyril Bouquet created and has been leading the MBA Innovation week for the past three years. Previous editions focused on improving healthcare patients’ experience and resulted in winning entries in the Debiopharm-Inartis innovation challenge.

This year Professor Bouquet wanted change things up and give participants an unforgettable experience immersed in the passionate world of sports in partnership with Europe’s top football organization, located in IMD’s vicinity.

The purpose of this challenge is to show that innovation is not just about spontaneous inspiration. It is a process and it can be grueling. After this week, our participants will be able to lead real teams through the innovation process and experience what the pitfalls are. Through innovation week, we are inspiring them to become better leaders,” Professor Bouquet said.

The program brings together 90 MBA particpants from IMD and 18 students from the Master in Product Design and from the Master of Advanced Studies in Design for Luxury and Craftsmanship at ECAL, the renowned Art and Design University, based in Lausanne. They will form a total of 18 teams. The mix of business and design expertise is meant to replicate the makeup of multidisciplinary teams in the real world of innovation.

ECAL is thrilled to be part of this innovation challenge alongside an amazing line-up of partner institutions. With interdisciplinary collaborations such as this one, we want to provide our design students with a new skillset with the aim to shape the future directions of design, for example, with a better integration of design within business practices,” said Alexis Georgacopoulos, ECAL Director.

Innovation journey

The week follows a journey of innovation from discovery, idea creation, and business model identification to pitching the idea to a Jury made up of UEFA experts, as well as of IMD, ECAL and ThinkSport representatives, who can make or break the initiatives.

At the beginning of the week, the participants will connect with fans as well as a multitude of stakeholders, industry executives and experts spanning the worlds of academia, sports and innovation. These conversations will bring the latest thinking regarding fan engagement and highlight important problems that must be solved and solutions that make sense.

The group will then move to UniverCité, a fabrication laboratory located in Renens, where the students will rapidly prototype the most promising ideas, test them and receive feedback from a broad range of stakeholders and innovation specialists. 

Towards the end of the week, the teams will work on business models to flesh out the desirability, feasibility and viability of their ideas, and learn to pitch their ideas to mobilize support and attract investors. 

The Jury will then select the winners whose ideas have a chance to be implemented during the finals of the UEFA European Championship 2024.

Writing about last year’s edition of Innovation week, one participant said: I will count this as one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had in the whole MBA program.”

Leadership journey

While previous editions focused solely on innovation, this year will be the first that also includes a Leadership Lab.

Cyril Bouquet said the situations students experience throughout the week are extremely useful materials for reflection; innovation doesn’t happen in a linear fashion. Some teams move very fast, while others get confused or experience frictions. 

The week will give students a chance a chance to reflect on their own effectiveness as leaders, and hopefully become more mindful of qualities they can nurture to achieve their best potential, both as individuals and in the way they work together as a team,” said Professor Bouquet.

Throughout the week IMD will provide live updates via our website the IMD MBA Blog, as well as Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | Flickr | and YouTube.

Stay tuned!

Find out more about IMD’s MBA program

And about our partner institutions: