Apr 8, 2015  Vienna / Austria

Ice breakers are sweet start to challenging competition

Let the games begin: Henkel Innovation Challenge final kicks off in Vienna

Student teams from across 28 participating countries arrived in Vienna for the international final of the eighth Henkel Innovation Challenge. Over the next three days, student teams of two will compete to have their concept chosen as the winning innovative product design envisioned for Henkel in 2050.

Henkel Innovation Challenge: Student teams from 28 participating countries

Student teams from 28 countries are competing to soar above their competition by winning the Henkel Innovation Challenge and the first-prize travel voucher of 10,000 euros.

Students shared traditional foods

Students shared traditional foods with their fellow competitors.

Team Egypt showed off their cultural heritage

Team Egypt showed off their cultural heritage.

Team Brazil and Team Belgium

Team Brazil and Team Belgium tried on new identities by swapping flags.

15 minutes to decorate cakes

Ready, set, go: Students & mentors had 15 minutes to decorate cakes.

Decorating cakes

Precision and a steady hand – a recipe for success!

The cakes are finished

The cakes are finished. They’ll be a sweet reward for the students after their presentations.

On the morning of day one of the challenge, the students met their international competition, learned about their cultures, and “broke the ice” with fun activities before getting down to business during the first round of the competition in the afternoon. Students’ creative, funny videos introduced their products.

Diversity was on display at a cultural bazaar. Students dressed in traditional garments from their home countries, or brought food or decorations that represented their culture. The Croatian team dressed in bright red suit jackets, blue pants, and diamond-patterned red-and-white ties, the national colors of Croatia. The French team, who had donned thick black moustaches, brought some cheese along to share. “You can probably smell it from here,” they joked. “Good cheese means bad breath and we had to find a solution,” a good segue into a description of their Smile and Care Brush which would clean teeth and provide a health check-up in just ten seconds.

The team from India displayed confidence, dressed in lightweight, colorful traditional clothing, saying, “We want to give you a glimpse of what you could wear when you come to India for the final next year.” The winning team often plays host to the HIC final in the upcoming year.

The introduction phase ended on a sweet note, with a surprise cake-decorating ice breaker. Students showed off their creativity once more, decorating rich Austrian chocolate cakes with colorful marzipan, sprinkles, and fruits, loading up on sugar and creative energy for the tough challenge ahead. The ice-breaker was a mini competition within itself, and teams composed randomly of students and mentors were challenged with decorating the loveliest cake, and judged on their likeness to the subject, teamwork, and innovative approach.

In addition to networking opportunities and practical business development experience, students at the Henkel Innovation Challenge compete for the chance to win travel vouchers valued at 10,000, 4,000, or 2,000 euros and the chance for a personal meeting with Henkel CEO Kasper Rorsted.

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