Ensuring innovative projects emerge

October 2019, UTC's Innovation and Territorial Development Department organised the first edition of a “Creathon”. The objective? To introduce students to entrepreneurship and the creation of start-ups.

Ensuring innovative projects emerge

Two days to bring out innovative projects and find start-up ideas. This is the ambitious project that some fifty students from UTC and UniLaSalle (Beauvais) took on last October. Gathered at the UTC's Daniel Thomas Innovation Centre for the University’s very first Creathon, they worked in teams on the emergence of new projects. “What I really liked about the Creathon is that the organizers really taught us how to innovate," says Florent Meyer, a computer engineering student. They taught us a lot of concepts and methods to find a project and above all to be creative in the proposed solutions. "Concepts such as ideation, design thinking and value proposition were presented to the students. These are not disciplines that we are used to studying in class," says Martin de Beaulieu, a final year student. “So it was really interesting to be able to discover them during this weekend. »

Among the projects proposed by the students: a connected muffler, an application to share food or a collective, connected composter. It was the latter project that aroused the enthusiasm of the jury. "The project is simple, it's a composter installed in buildings that allows residents to work with a local farmer," explains Martin de Beaulieu, a member of the winning team. Before their pitch, the team went through many steps. "Once we had the draft of our project on paper, we went out into the streets to meet potential users and get their opinions. We realized that there were a lot of things wrong with our project," he says. So the team worked over and over again to perfect his project and prototype. All under the watchful eye of coaches from the
entrepreneurial community. "It was really precious to have professionals to help us. They gave us a different perspective on our project," says Martin. “For example, at a time when we were stuck on the solution to our problem, they asked us to think about a solution that would amplify the problem, just the opposite of what we wanted! And thinking backwards allowed us to come up with new ideas for our real prototype.”

Virginie Lamarche who initiated the idea of a Creathon, had noted - as an innovation engineer at UTC: "For the past 10 years, we have been organizing a competition for innovative projects at the school to enable students to set up their start-up. I noticed that many students were attracted by innovation and entrepreneurship but didn’t have a clue about it" have she explains. “So I got this idea to organise a UTC Creathon to help them sort out their ideas, and this, before the competition for innovative projects." And for Virginie, this first edition was a great success. "We had students, coaches and facilitators involved and very happy to have spent a weekend at the Daniel Thomas Innovation centre". Want a proof? The end-of-weekend cocktail party (often deserted in the events) remained full until the Innovation Centre closed.

For Martin de Beaulieu and his composter team, the wager is a success in any case. "We really liked working on this project, we will continue to work on it in the coming months to eventually set up a start-up. And if it's not for this project, in any case now I know that I want to set up my start-up! "A second edition of the Creathon is to be expected in 2020.