Opiskelijoita innovaatioleirillä.

Business Innovation Camp: collaborative tool for business development

Business Innovation Camp is a rapid, engaging innovation and university collaboration process for companies. It's a university-facilitated process where companies set a challenge for student teams to solve and introduce new thinking.

Business Innovation Camp group working

Photographer/Author

Pekka Stenholm

Combining dialogue with fresh minds moves business forward

Originally executed offline as interactive 2-4 days workshop, some of them have also been held abroad depending on the case organisation.  

During covid-19 the camps have been also carried out online within a ca. 2–3 week period.

The camp’s goal is to reduce the uncertainty in bringing a new product/service/feature to the market. Teams with curious and motivated mindsets without constraints of experienced professionals bring out novel approaches.

Benefits for companies and organisations

The process drives your experts to consider different perspectives, reconsider existing essentials and engage new internal discussions. We especially encourage to involve a customer or a partner. Camp is a easy and indirect way to learn from their needs and views alongside the process. It is also a way to enhance employer image and recruit new talents.

Benefits for students

Previous feedback from camps highlights that real business challenges in camps bring present practical perspective not usually directly available in textbooks or classrooms. The process is rapid, your task is to find out both the big picture and the missing pieces. A chance to show your skills, find your role in a team, engage informants and decision-makers, and also get possible inspiration for your thesis or future career.

boston camp
BIC process picture. Photo credit Pekka Stenholm

Photographer/Author

Pekka Stenholm

Practicalities and schedule

The Business Innovation Camp process in brief
  1. University staff interviews the case organization’s needs and helps together to plan the challenge assignment for the camp
  2. The right mentors for the challenge are linked to the process and exact schedule is agreed.
  3. University students apply for the camp. The aim is to create diverse teams between students from business school and other faculties depending on the challenge.
  4. Students receive preliminary briefings about the case organization, its industry and the methodology used.
  5. Core of the process in intensive sessions follows a modified Design Sprint approach focusing on understanding on customer problems and needs. Briefings and problem first -orientation impacts that actual solution ideas aren't created from scratch but based on real signals from the case's business environment. Outcomes aim both for novelty and feasibility.
  6. Teams pitch their solution to broader audience from the case organization and their partners with also senior management present.
  7. As the outcome the pitches illustrate future development avenues for the case organization. For the students process opens up new opportunities and contacts as well. Ideally in some cases team can get to implement their idea later in practice.
Schedule

For semester 2021-2022 TSE has six slots available to launch a camp with an interested case organization within the slot’s dates:

#1 6th Sep – 1st Oct 2021
#2 11th Oct – 5th Nov 2021
#3 8th Nov – 26th Nov 2021
#4 2nd Jan – 4th Feb 2022
#5 21st Feb – 25th Mar 2022
#6 28th Mar – 22nd Apr 2022

Online or offline camps

Base plan for an offline camp is two half-day sessions and two full days off-campus. Case organisation can organise themselves the working space for the camp, or the University can take care of all practicalities as a turn-key package.

An online camp includes ca. seven sessions varying between 2-4 hours utilizing collaboration tools like Zoom or Miro. This allows very flexible planning if needed.

University policies related to covid-19 will be followed with practical execution. The process will be flexibly planned so that switching between online and offline would be easy to do in case suddenly needed.

Service costs

Base service fee for case organisation(s) is ca. 10 000 EUR + VAT excluding possible expenses related to premises and catering if organised by University of Turku. Will be specified in detailed offer.

Student selection for the camp

Each separate camp will be separately informed to students via emails and e.g. Mercatalks Facebook group. Students apply with a brief application according to instructions of each specific camp. Usually camp is recommended earliest during the second year of studies but also students very near to graduation are very welcomed. Depending on the case certain majors might be emphasized but generally the goal is to form multibackground teams and every University of Turku major is welcomed. Student can apply for ECTS credits against completion of a specific camp, see the description.

Watch the pitching event of 2020 camp in Singapore:

Want to know how the Business Innovation Camp could contribute to your development efforts? Contact us!