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Discover the winner of the 2019 UEFA Innovation Challenge

A mixed team consisting of IMD MBA participants and a student from the Master of Product design programme at ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne won the 2019 Innovation Challenge last week. The expert jury of the contest was convinced by the “Euroband” concept developed by the team, a bracelet to improve the fan experience for future UEFA events, including the 2024 UEFA European Football Championship. “Euroband” is a wristband with RFID technology, which fans can use to track their families’ locations and purchase refreshments and other items during football matches at stadiums and fan zones.

The winning team was composed of Anita Lee, Joseph Pineda, Peter Shibaev, Maki Shimizu, Tamil Varda Thamizharasan, as well as Benjamin Bischel from ECAL. “The whole atmosphere of the team was like a safety net. More than ever, I believe how a team works, how everyone cares, really contributes to success,” said Tamil.

“I’m so proud of the teams this year. They showed an impressive amount of energy and enthusiasm over the week,” said IMD Professor Cyril Bouquet, who created and leads the IMD MBA Innovation Week. “Everyone comes from different backgrounds and from different perspectives, but they really gelled this week. There was so much team chemistry.”

Anna Hellman, director of ThinkSport, said: “This has really been a very refreshing experience. The participants showed a lot of passion, creativity, out-of-the-box thinking and professionalism. I have been amazed by their different project ideas and hope to see many of them again at our international sport and innovation event THE SPOT later this month.”

UEFAIMDECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne and ThinkSport teamed up to create a unique and intense experience for more than 100 MBA and Master in Design participants to learn about innovation. The 2019 UEFA Innovation Challenge, which took place from 29 April to 3 May 2019, was a hands-on learning journey led by renowned experts from the worlds of sports and business. 

Of the 18 teams which pitched their projects to the jury, six were chosen for the finals. The teams combined students from IMD and ECAL to ensure a good mix of business and design expertise and replicate the make-up of multidisciplinary teams in the real world of innovation. Many of the projects focused on improving the football experience for families and people with special needs. 

The week followed 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 selected the winners. 

The participants connected with fans as well as with a multitude of stakeholders, industry executives and experts spanning the worlds of academia, sports and innovation in order to develop their projects. 

In addition to providing the basis for a new initiative by UEFA, the winners won tickets to the finals of the UEFA Nations League in Porto, Portugal. 

Jean-Baptiste Alliot, Innovation strategy specialist at UEFA, said to the participants: “I truly hope that this partnership is just the beginning of the journey and we hope to implement your ideas in Euro 2024.”

Click here to read the full press release by IMD.

2019 UEFA Innovation Challenge Highlights