Team of students from Münster University of Applied Sciences, and Felix Koch from Fiege Engineering win idea contest
Greven, 17 July 2018. Exciting ideas presented in an entertaining manner: Six finalists pitched their new concepts to a large audience and a critical jury during the Fiege Innovation Challenge. The contest’s third instalment came with a first: the winning spot went to two contenders at the same time. Kerstin Kuhn, Ann-Christin Rüdebusch, Josy Sproß and Lena Tautz from Münster University of Applied Sciences, as well as like Felix Koch from Fiege’s Engineering team were crowned the winners of the Fiege Innovation Challenge and all came into Euro 5,000 in prize money. The students from the University of Applied Sciences had pitched their solution on how to measure cargo flexibly, while Felix Koch pursued an innovative approach on the inner-city delivery of parcels.
“Both winners demonstrated with their presentations that they had studied their respective subjects and the existing issues extensively and as a result of that, introduced convincing solutions”, said one of the jury members, Christoph Mangelmans, Managing Director Omnichannel Retail at Fiege. While answering questions asked by the jury and the audience, the final winners responded with integrity and clarified the ideas behind their respective business models. Both finalists came out on a par after the votes of the audience had been counted – visitors to the Innovation Challenge voted for their favourite via an App – and the evaluation sheets of the jury had been rated, resulting in a distinctive lead ahead of the other four finalists.
66 candidates submitted ideas
The six finalists presented their ideas last Thursday at Fiege headquarters in Greven to more than 130 people. “Never before has the path into the final been this hard: you made it against 66 candidates! That alone is a good reason for me to congratulate you”, said Felix Fiege, Chief Executive of the Fiege Group, to the finalists. “The development of new business models and innovative ideas is very important to us. The large number of contestants indicates that we are on the right path.”
The groups each had ten minutes to convince the audience and the jury of their ideas. The pitch was followed by a round of questions from the jury which relentlessly probed the contestants about their business model and possible loopholes regarding its potential for sales, legal challenges related to its implementation, or the actual feasibility. The jury was composed of Frauke Mispagel who heads Otto Group Digital Solutions as its Managing Director; Fiege Executive Board members Alfred Messink and Dr. Stefan Thies; and Fiege Directors Andreas Pott (Corporate Development) and Christoph Mangelmans (Omnichannel Retail).
Reaching a wide audience
The winners knew how to sway the jury in their favour. “Developing the business model was a lengthy and time-consuming process”, said Ann-Christin Rüdebusch of the University team. “It was crucial to constantly keep an eye on the essence of the idea and not to initially overload the product with features, in order to ensure its accessibility. It proved to be a fantastic team effort and we all learned a lot on a personal level.”
“I have been delving into the issue of city logistics for some time now – even during my studies. I was really driven to take part in the Innovation Challenge at least once, and to present the idea to a larger audience”, said Felix Koch. “It was great fun dedicating my resources to topics that extend beyond my own daily work routine.”
Idea workshops in the run-up to the contest
Fiege employees Thorsten Sbrzesny and Benjamin Wiens came third with their concept that they had named Emil². Using Artificial Intelligence and a self-learning platform, their goal was to analyse data created at Fiege warehouses in order to use that data to manage supply chain processes.
“Once again it was great fun for us to listen to the presentations and the novel ideas”, said Jens Fiege, Chief Executive of the Fiege Group, before announcing the winner. “The Innovation Challenge was even bigger and more international this year than the years before. We are thrilled to see that so many employees dedicated time to new business ideas and approaches aimed at solving issues.” This year premiered an idea workshop held alongside the Fiege Innovation Challenge at different locations together with employees, which took place amongst others, in Poland, Slovakia and even China.