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Innovation: Markas at the first "Students & Company Sprint"

02.03.2022 - Italy

The first "Students & Company Sprint" organized by NOI Techpark  in collaboration with the Free University of Bozen/Bolzano, has reached an end. Markas had the chance to be one of the three South Tyrolian companies that took part in it! 

The five-day innovation challenge, financed by the European Social Fund (ESF),  took place in Bolzano from the 21st to 25th Feb 2022 and aimed at promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and open innovation not only among students with a broad range of backgrounds and educational experiences but also among different institutions such as universities, research centres and companies. 
the first "Students & Company Sprint" - first day
Five days, six interdisciplinary student teams and many original ideas

In today's competitive market, sustainability as well as constant product adaptation are key success factors for businesses. 

And this has been the idea behind the 'Students & Company Sprint'; prepare young talents for tomorrow's business problems, encourage them to come up with innovative solutions, and help companies create better and more sustainable user experiences and services. 

The participants, all students from the Free University of Bozen/Bolzano , were divided into six interdisciplinary teams.

Accompanied by specialists in research, design thinking and innovation and under the guidance of three South Tyrolean companies, Markas, VOG Products and VIVIUS, they had to deal with real business challenges and come up with fresh ideas within five days. 
the first "Students & Company Sprint" - visit at the canteen of Bolzano University
'Canteen of the future'

Rethinking university canteen services from a circular economy perspective: this was the challenge that Markas shared with the participants. 

The results? Truly impressive! All the students worked tirelessly to develop their own circular economy solutions which they, then, had the chance to present during the final day of the sprint in order for the winning teams to be selected.

"I had the opportunity to personally experience how hard the students worked and how visiting Markas' premises at the Free University of Bozen/Bolzano aroused their curiosity and creativity. I am convinced that this collaboration between Markas and the students will help them interpret the needs of the future in an innovative way" says Claudia Flaim, Sales and Marketing Director at Markas.
the first "Students & Company Sprint" - Markas' Innovation Manager Ana-Sofie Schneider
Inspiring younger generations

For students, getting in contact with businesses and applying their knowledge to real use cases can be an important experience and even a stepping stone for their professional careers. "As a university, we see cooperation with companies as a key element in providing students with work experience during their studies. This makes it easier for our graduates to make the transition from education to the world of work" says Paolo Lugli, Rector of the Free University of Bozen/Bolzano.

In addition, learning and adopting certain creativity methods is becoming more and more important in our modern working environment. And this can be taught mainly through practical opportunities. The immersive five-day innovation sprint aimed at doing exactly that: provide undergraduate and postgraduate students with the right techniques in order to apply innovative thinking and theoretical data to real use cases and business processes while always having in mind a more sustainable future.

"Thanks to the kick-off presentation and several check-ins during the Sprint week, the students were able to get a real 360 degree view on our Food service. It did not take them long to fully immerse themselves in our business processes. The Design Thinking methods used enabled the students to develop unique and fresh insights while keeping in mind the economic, contractual and technical feasibility" explains Ana-Sofie Schneider, Innovation Manager at Markas.