Latest news & views

Check out the winners of the Haskins Innovation Challenge 2020 | Reinventing the Tour de Suisse

This year’s edition of the Haskins Innovation Challenge invited students and alumni from the University of Lausanne (UNIL) and other academic institutions in the region to help reinvent the future of a major sporting event in an ever changing world, taking the case study of Le Tour de Suisse

First, the students were briefed by Olivier Senn, the general manager of the Tour de Suisse, on challenges encountered in the organisation of this important cycling race. They were then instructed by a professional coach from the HUB Entrepreneurship and Innovation of UNIL on how to develop their entrepreneurial skills and start working on ideas for solutions on a given topic, using the Design Thinking approach.  

Second, the students were grouped into different teams and had time to further develop their ideas through research, interviews and other means for three weeks. Each team worked on a specific topic, including “How can we engage digitally with the current Tour de Suisse audience?”; “How can we get Swiss bicycle enthusiasts interested in the Tour de Suisse?”; “How can we get more women involved into road cycling?”; or “How can raise the interest of local decision-makers in the Tour de Suisse?”.

Finally, earlier this month, the teams were asked to pitch their ideas through 8-minute presentations to a jury composed of representatives of the Tour de Suisse and Haskins - Sport Society, UNIL and ThinkSport. Team Pfaffnau was selected as ultimate winner for their innovative ideas on how to engage digitally with the current audience of Le Tour de Suisse, from virtual yellow jersey hunts and digital photo contests to the development of a dedicated event app and a platform for schools, to name just a few.

However, in this Challenge there really were no losers. Every participant enjoyed the experience, learnt a lot of new things and enjoyed the team spirit. In addition, an overall of four teams who participated in the challenge developed such interesting proposals, that they are likely to have further discussions with Le Tour de Suisse in the future.

Olivier Senn said: “It was a fantastic opportunity for us to work with the students. They think outside the box, came up with very interesting questions and even more interesting solutions. We are delighted with the ideas they created and will follow-up on them in cooperation with the students. We couldn’t have wished for more outcomes, really!”

Organised jointly by Haskins, Hub Entrepreneuriat et Innovation UNIL and ThinkSport, the Challenge took place virtually during the months of October and November due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.