M. Moser, H. Lercher, B. Kummert

Fachhochschule Campus02 (AUSTRIA)
13 styrian schools of economics, 25 classes, about 500 pupils and 4 different tasks which could chance the world: This was the initial position for the “Styrian Challenge” in November 2014.
Innovative pupils of different schools in Styria/Austria accepted the challenge for the ideas competition.
The goal of the challenge is to show pupils the power of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. In short Workshops (3 hours per class) the teams worked out ideas for practical and current tasks from the local economic system. The teams were supported by practical Innovation Managers.
For a special motivation, the challenge was designed as a contest. The tasks were displayed at the same time at each school in each class. The teams worked simultaneously. With a live (video)feed, the pupils were able to watch other pupils in other schools working at the same task.
The target was to generate a concept supported by a plausible business model. After each session the concepts were presented and a jury nominated one team per class as the stage winner. The teams got a voucher for a special training in communication or job application.

How does it work – what are the "to do`s" to organize such a challenge:
1. The first step is the most difficult one. You have to coordinate different schools and collect the agreements for the workshops.

Every class should have the same degree. In an optimal way the level should be just before the final examination. It will be needed 3 hours per class.
It is important that each school and class will start at the same time, because the challenge is a contest. The pupils should see the other pupils working at the same task.

2. The second step is to figure out current task which fits to a pupil’s mindset.

In our case, we defined 4 different tasks:
I. Create the next evolution of a “brown bag lunch – sausage” (from a local butcher)
II. Create the next evolution of an energy-product (supported by Dextro-energy)
III. New product made from stone
IV. How should an innovative Bank-Office looks like and generate new services

3. In the third step you have to create a detailed roadmap (time schedule, methods per task).

In the last 30 minutes, the pupils (about 4 teams per class) have to prepare a poster with a description of their idea, the target group and an innovative slogan. The stage-winner-team will be nominated by the class itself. After the two working days the finally winner will be nominated by a jury.