– It took six hours for the students to identify and solve a problem that we ourselves had worked on for six months, says Fredrik Sidevärn, CEO for Börje Olsson's Konditorier.
There are walls full of post-it notes and the students contestants are teeming with spirit. The discussion are loud inside Inno-X, the new creative environment at Luleå University of Technology, where the Innovation Factory is arranged. Students develop innovative ideas in a fast pace. The only cost for the company is the prize pool and in return they get early help in the development of new concepts.
- In addition to the breadth of the ideas developed the students also become interested in the company. The relationships created during the day are worth much more than the investment, says Kristin Hammarberg, project leader of the Innovation Factory.
Many companies and industries have participated, among others Börje Olsson Konditorier, Lindbäcks Bygg, packaging manufacturer BillerudKorsnäs, Kukkolaforsen, Luleå Energi, Smurfit Kappa and Fritid & Vildmarksliv AB.
The challenges from businesses involving everything from new paper products to retail flow. The method behind the innovation factory has been developed together with leading researchers from Luleå University och Technology and each competition is adapted to the companys specific needs.
- I am impressed by the students creative ability! It is useful to experience our business model with their eyes, said Seved Viklund, CEO of Fritid & Vildmarksliv.
Winning concept has been ice kitchens under the northern lights and electrical centers built in the door moldings. BillerudKorsnäs searched for second-hand uses of paper bags. The winning team suggested that paper bags should be used for carrying dirty wash but also impregnated with detergent so that they could be used in the washing machines to clean the clothes. The students created both a secondary and third use for the paper pag.
- The Innovation Factory was a rewarding day in many ways and I would heartily recommend the competition to other companies, said Lars Henriksson, Product Manager at Smurfit Kappa