By Külli Hansen, Estonian Business School, Tallinn
NIC-week in Lyngby
From November 11 to 16 the second Nordic Ideation Camp was held in Lyngby, Denmark. 20 students from Haaga Helia University of Applied Sciences Finland, 20 from Estonian Business School and 20 from Copenhagen Business Academy, Denmark had a possibility to practise both virtual and on-site international collaboration. Team-work is not easy when the team-memerbs come from different countries. However, our situation was truly challenging as among the participants from the three Nordic countries, there were also students with Vietnamise, Indian, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Russian etc nationality or origin, also the age of the participants was very different.
““Since we had very international team-2 girls from Estonia, 1 girl from Hungary, 1 girl from Vietnam, 1 guy from Finland and 1 guy from Denmark-our work was very interesting and we all had different understandings of things. In our case, it was only a good thing. We did not have any major misunderstandings and the fact that we all had so many different ideas due to our experience only richened the team work. ” -EBS Student
The students worked with the tasks from three local companies. One of the oldest ferry company in Europe DFDS expected students to think about the cruise passangers and to improve the services of their contact centre. They asked student teams to innovate the whole experience of connecting the company and getting the possible best service before, during and after the cruise.
The second company was a a local start-up Period, from CPH business incubator. The start-up aimed at offering online subscriptione-based sales to young women selling hygienic products with monthly subscriptions. How to make it work for the expected target groups and how to sell more, was the challenge for the students to find out.
The third company was Lungby Boldclub – a stadium and football club which has a large number of members and which also organises tournaments, but the club is not familiar enuogh among local community. The club is intersted in creating tight contacts with the community, build up their own loyal fanclub in order to generate bigger audiences to their events and improve their brand imago.
“I did like how the professors from each university were going around and helping each team throughout the week. That worked well and could be done maybe even more. This made sure the thought process and progress our team made was always moving forward. I really liked the fact that the students ended up being from way more than just 3 different countries, which made the camp more interesting and effective as well, since it combined ideas from people from so many different cultural backgrounds.” -EBS Student
So, students were divided into teams and the challenge started. The teams had to think about the customer, draw empathy maps, think about problem statements and offer solutions. They built prototypes and tested them in the city with potential customers. Teachers pushed them to test more and do some testing at each step of the solution development process. The week passed quickly and Friday morning with the pitchings to the company representatives were just about to start, when I approached Tiit Elenurm from EBS and asked, what has been the biggest impression from the week so far.
Here is what he answered „CPH campus at Lyngby is an excellent place to get together students from three countries. We are really happy to spend our days in the „White house“ of CPH where we have rooms just for our teams and use the space in the way we need. Students had to work intensively during the week to solve very different challenges of Danish companies. Some of them became a bit exhausted, because the days were really long and intensive. However, international teamwork assumes crossing the borderlines of comfort zones.“
The students also provided useful feedback and suggestions for the next camp:
“ […]We finished our work way faster than the teachers were expecting. Only time we actually felt like the time was running out was Thursday, when we had to fix our presentations. It would have been better if the dress rehearsal was earlier that day, for example at 2 PM, then we could have had lots of time to fix everything and leave the school earlier.” -EBS student
All the teachers were very much satisfied with the results the students presented. The same was about the company representatives, who appreciated the big work done by the students and promised to put many of their ideas into use.
After all this intensive process of dress-rehersals, pitchings to companies and week-long competition, it was nice to announce, that the winners were… everybody!
For this year it was absolutely true. All the students made their input, the teams worked well without any serious problems and the companies were happy with the results.
Külli Hansen is a lecturer at the Department of Management at Estonian Business School in Tallinn, Estonia.