03/10/2008, Düsseldorf

 

Creativity for the future

International innovation competition for students: German winners announced

Over 1,000 students from six European countries submitted their ideas for the international student competition “Henkel Innovation Challenge”. The challenge facing these young talents was to develop innovative products and business concepts for the laundry and home care segment of the year 2050. Recently, Henkel invited the ten best teams from Germany for a day-long national final in Düsseldorf. The students presented their ideas to a high-caliber jury of Henkel managers, impressing with their creativity and professionalism. The winning team from Berlin will be meeting its European counterparts at the international final to be held in Barcelona in April.

Under the “Henkel Innovation Challenge” banner, Henkel launched its first international innovation competition for students in October 2007. And with great success. Over 1,000 students from six European countries submitted their ideas. The basis of the competition is life in the year 2050 and the question as to what kind of innovative ideas and business solutions related to laundry and home care are likely to take hold in the future. The ten best German teams were recently invited by Henkel to the national final in Düsseldorf. These students – from throughout Germany – presented their ideas and concepts to a jury comprised of Henkel managers, impressing their judges with their exceptional creativity and professionalism. They all exhibited highly confident presentation skills underpinned by expert drawings and computer animations, self-produced films, self-constructed products and role-playing cameos. “I am quite impressed. The presentations far exceeded my expectations,” commented jury member Andreas Lange, Corporate Senior Vice President Laundry & Home Care, Western Europe.

And the winner is…
An all-female team of students from Berlin ultimately took the top prize: Nurgül Güven, Sarah Mahdjour (both of Berlin University of Science and Technology) and Hanka Smiejczak (Berlin School of Economics) won over the jury with their original idea for an intelligent detergent of the future and a presentation full of poise and panache. “We put a lot of effort into the project and are delighted to reap the rewards of all our hard work of the last few weeks,” enthused winning team member Sarah Mahdjour. “The competition has been a great experience,” she added. There are six countries taking part in this year’s “Henkel Innovation Challenge”: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. The national winning teams are to meet in April at the international final in Barcelona.

Henkel is putting increased effort into seeking direct and intensive interchange with young talents. The company’s managers have been supporting the student groups for months, acting as their mentors and helping them in their preparations and in the elaboration of their ideas. “The ‘Henkel Innovation Challenge’ is of real benefit to all the parties involved. The students receive a unique insight into an internationally operating company and, thanks to the close working relationship that they develop with their mentors, are able to tie in to a good network comprised of top managers,” explains jury member Fridtjof Helemann, Corporate Vice President Human Resources. “Henkel in turn gets acquainted with some of the best qualified and most motivated young talents that Europe has to offer,” adds Ina Claßen, Corporate Director Recruitment, likewise a member of the Henkel jury.

For more information on the “Henkel Innovation Challenge”, go to http://www.henkelchallenge.com/.