KEDGE Business School organises its fourth Open Innovation Business Challenge with Epitech

PRESS RELEASE – 18/04/2018

KEDGE Business School organises its fourth Open Innovation Business Challenge with Epitech

For the fourth consecutive year, KEDGE Business School students from all of the specialised MS and MSc courses are taking on the Open Innovation Business Challenge organised with Epitech students this year. Grouped into interdisciplinary teams, the students will have three weeks to provide a solution to a real strategic challenge faced by a business. Around a hundred students from the Bordeaux and Marseille KEDGE campuses will develop innovative projects for major groups such as AIRBUS or start-ups like KNOCK.

The benefit of this challenge is that it encourages students to think differently, thanks to the multidisciplinary experience within the teams. This initiative encourages experimentation, boldness and creativity in the development of innovative projects that satisfy the requirements of the businesses involved”, explains José Milano, Director General of KEDGE Business School.

This year, to strengthen the hybridisation of skills and to emphasise the digital dimension, Epitech is joining KEDGE’s Open Innovation Business Challenge and its students will be included in the working groups. The challenge will also benefit from the collaboration with business incubator Bordeaux Technowest in Bordeaux, and the Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire (University Hospital Institute – IHU) and its Fondation Méditerranée Infection (Mediterranean Infection Foundation) in Marseille.

From the outset, the challenge was designed around the ‘Education-Business’ concept, adds Claude Spano, Head of Hybrid Innovation and Digital Intelligence at KEDGE Business School. It’s really a matter of focusing the teaching on business in order to enable students to solve a complex and innovative problem by drawing on collective intelligence.

Throughout the challenge, the students will be supervised by experts thanks to inductive teaching which will be based on the task requirements in order to highlight the concepts needed to develop the project. At the end of the seminar, KEDGE Business School will present an Open Innovation certificate to all students who have participated in the challenge.

Paul Gimet, a KEDGE professor and scientific director of the specialised Master’s course in innovation relating to business issues coordinates the students’ work: “The unique aspect of this certificate is the opportunity for businesses to innovate within a limited time frame and for students to go beyond their frame of reference, to operate outside of their comfort zone to innovate within a complex setting. The tasks range from developing Artificial Intelligence and an aviation customer service Chatbot, to working on micro-algae cultivation in order to extract molecules of interest.

During the last challenge, a group of KEDGE students supported a business that won the gold medal at the 2017 Concours Lépine international competition with Viktor, the smart cushion designed for elderly people. The students developed an additional service which would allow elderly people to select from menus and have meals delivered by the French postal service La Poste.

This year, the innovative subjects submitted by businesses include:

  • Nanotechnology and e-health (GENESINK) 
  • Detection of microorganisms (CLICK4TAG)
  • Antibodies (THERANYX BIOTECH)
  • Alternatives to antibiotics (GENE & GREENTK)
  • Biofouling (GENE & GREENTK)
  • Protein and marine plankton (PLANKTOVIE)
  • Aviation: Artificial Intelligence in customer services (AIRBUS)
  • Micro-algae cultivation (URBAN ALGAE)
  • Professional radio communications in the aviation and rail sectors (DIMOTEC)
  • Real Estate Virtual Assistant Chatbot (KNOCK)
  • Bioinformatics 2.0 NGS data specialist (XEGEN)
  • Innov’In Med 2018 (MCO Congrès)
  • Multi-platform, modular and scalable software for the collection, processing and communication of data (AKEROS)
  • Application for optimising customer experiences in railway stations and airports (KOUIK Agency)
  • Promotion of Peer Learning (UPPER)
  • Contact heated gloves for motorcycles (NTACT)
  • Learning management skills through virtual and augmented reality (CFAIM)

The BORDEAUX TECHNOWEST hub is very well-represented in this year's challenge through the participation of four of its start-ups (Knock, Urban Algae, Kouik Agency and Akeros). The role of Bordeaux Technowest involves supporting innovative projects within the aviation, space and defence and eco-activities sectors, as well as in relation to national economic development.

From the French region of PACA, there are two start-ups (Gene & GreenTK and XEGEN) from the IHU and its Mediterranean Infection Foundation that are participating in the challenge. They are developing a symbiosis of research, hospital and business activities within a dedicated space for technology transfer. In order to accomplish their tasks, the students will attend coaching sessions and classes, in addition to conferences covering the following subjects:

  • Open innovation
  • Task approach and methodology
  • Value capture and enhancement
  • Innovative business models
  • Intellectual property in open innovation
  • Neurolearning
  • Innovation funding
  • Promoting projects on LinkedIn
  • Business pitching
  • Spaces for innovation

About Epitech

Epitech is recognised as a leading educational institution, transforming a passion for computer science into expertise which opens doors to high-potential employment opportunities (100% employment rate after graduation). Sought after by businesses, this academic training is based on an innovative model focusing on three qualities that are increasingly required in the workplace: adaptability, self-development and a sense of project management. The institution has 13 campuses in France and three in Europe, outside France (Barcelona, Berlin and Brussels).

Press Contact

Angélique GERMAIN - Tel. +33(0) 556 846 343 /

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Challenge Open Innovation (PDF - 327.1 kB)