Henkel Innovation Challenge – Profile
The Henkel Innovation Challenge is an international innovation competition for students from throughout the world. It first took place in 2007. The international final of the sixth Henkel Innovation Challenge was held in Shanghai from March 18 to March 20, 2013. This year’s winners were the student team from Germany. Susann Tiffany Leuchtmann and Niels Henning Adler impressed most with their product idea “Syoss BREATHE,” an innovative shampoo that enables the hair to generate oxygen. Second and third places went to Russia and Belgium. Newly introduced this year, the Henkel Innovation Challenge was convened under the slogan: “Triple the value you create. Create a sustainable world.” In past years, Henkel has been able to engage with many undergraduates – and indeed some post-graduates – through the medium of its international student competition.
As the competition for talent is becoming ever more intense, Henkel has adopted a deliberate policy of forging personal contacts with young people on the cusp of their careers. With the Henkel Innovation Challenge, students are given the opportunity to further develop their project ideas with the support of experienced Henkel managers, and thus also to establish a personal rapport with the company at an early stage. Through the Henkel Innovation Challenge, young visionaries are able to gain priceless business experience from – and build invaluable contacts with – Henkel, as well as benefiting from the suggestions and guidance that come with its mentoring support.
Creative ideas for 2050
The students, who need to register in teams of two, adopt the role of creative business development managers as they work on their concepts for a Henkel brand or a Henkel technology aligned to 2050. The best teams in each country are first invited to present their ideas to a jury of Henkel business managers in a national final. The winners of that round then move on to the international final, which is traditionally hosted in the country of the previous year’s winners. In the case of the sixth Henkel Innovation Challenge, the international final was held outside Europe for the first time. The international finalists are coached by top Henkel executives who assist the students in transforming their concepts into complete business plans as the competition progresses.
At the sixth Henkel Innovation Challenge, students from 27 different countries throughout the world were invited to submit their ideas for innovative and sustainable concepts. The European participants came from Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Russian, Slovakia and Slovenia. The Asia-Pacific region provided teams from China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. And the cohorts from North and South America represented Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and the USA.
The top three teams in the Henkel Innovation Challenge are always invited to attend a personal meeting with the Henkel CEO, Kasper Rorsted. This is in addition to the valuable prizes on offer: Around-the-world flight tickets with a value of 10,000 euros for the overall winners, 4,000 euros to the runners-up and 2,000 euros for the team that comes third.
The next Henkel Innovation Challenge
The seventh Henkel Innovation Challenge is scheduled to begin in fall 2013, again with students from right around the world invited to take part. Because the German team won in Shanghai in 2013, the final will be held at Henkel’s Düsseldorf HQ in spring 2014. More than 5,000 people work at Henkel’s Düsseldorf facility, a site that can look back on 130 years of history as the cradle of the company.
Information on the launch of the seventh edition will be published in due course, together with the conditions of entry and participation.
Keeping in touch
The Henkel Innovation Challenge is actively communicated on the internet. On Facebook there is an international group under the Henkel Innovation Challenge heading. The latest news clips will be published on Twitter. And videos of previous rounds of the Henkel Innovation Challenge can be found on YouTube.