The international EIT Digital Winter School 2016 in the Netherlands is part of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship programme of the EIT Digital Master School. It trains Master School students based in the Netherlands, in the Business Model Generation process by turning a product idea into a business plan with value propositions, potential user segments and going to market strategy. In addition the students received short trainings in project management, team building, ideation, pitching, soft skills and self-assessment.
This year, from February 1 to 5, the EIT Digital Winter School took place in the Co-location Centre in Eindhoven. In this week, 49 students were challenged to crack 5 business cases. Mostly for the first time, the students worked closely together in international teams, under supervision of 2 dedicated and experienced coaches: Peter Langela and Ákos Wetters.
The Business Cases
The real life business cases were presented by two startups and an innovation activity from the action line Health and Wellbeing. After a hard week’s work, the students pitched their solutions to a jury, the representative of the Master School, coaches and business case owners. In total 5 business cases were presented coming from the three organisations as described below:
Axxerion, is a provider of cloud-based software for facility and property management. The platform includes modules for CRM, maintenance management, contract management, asset management, inventory control, procurement, accounting and project management. The current focus is on business to business only, but what would it take to introduce an easy-to-use 'Axxerion Home' version for the general public to manage all information and processes related to their own home.
Beatgrid Media, delivers software that can recognize any music, video, TV or radio sounds to measure and connect audiences with content at the right moment. It builds on one of the most lightweight mobile sound recognition technologies, that has ‘zero’ impact on a smartphone battery. That makes it applicable for 24/7 consumer media monitoring through mobile survey apps. How would this convert to a new business model and new markets?
GameBus, is an activity of the Innovation Action Line Health and Wellbeing. This activity is developing social health games to stimulate interaction between family members and friends. The result is a playful platform encouraging families to stay active, socially, mentally and physically in a personalised gaming experience. GameBus has been launched recently in the Appstore and is ready for the market.
What do the coaches say
The two coaches who supervised the Winter School, are also involved in the 2-week Summer School of the Action Line Health and Wellbeing. One may say that they are quite experienced to work as EIT Digital coaches in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship programme. So, what do they think of the work and results of this year’s Winter School. Ákos Weters comments for both by saying: ‘The teamwork went quite smooth this year so we, as coaches, were able to focus more on the going to market strategy of the business cases. Also the workshop on how to pitch by Viki Pavlič payed off as the end pitches illustrated. They were clear and of high level because they were rather concrete and factual. Especially the teams that worked on the BeatGrid cases came up with innovative and creative solutions. Hence, the GameBus case proved again hard to crack as we already experienced last Summer School.’
What do the students say?
The students evaluated the Winter School very positively next to (valuable) points for improvement. Let us see what students say on what they have learned:
“Before attending the Winter School, I was confused about the process of building my own business. I knew on individual steps, but I didn't know how to implement it in real life and the way it should be. Winter School provided me with some insights and making me more clear about this. Now I know exactly what I am missing and how to achieve it. In addition, I also obtain some experience in facing the obstacles in startup. One of them is teamwork. Teamwork is really difficult to control. It will be harder in a real situation.”
“I've learnt how to improve an existing product to extend the market. I had a chance to be consulted by experienced coaches and entrepreneurs.”
“A lot about developing a business case and seeing the big picture. A big thanks to everyone that made it happen, especially the coaches!”