Our student Nicole Widmann shares her experience at the EYA Festival held in Graz, Austria, from November 29 – December 2 2017
At the end of November 2017, twelve students in the Master of Science in International Management of the FHNW School of Business participated in the European Youth Award Festival 2017 in Graz, Austria. The theme of the festival was how digital innovation can contribute to creating a better world. Students from all over Europe formed groups tasked with preparing a presentation on one of the 2017 winning project teams. Most of the winning teams had created apps or other digital projects in categories such as Healthy Life, Smart Learning, Connecting Cultures, Go Green or Open Innovation. In order to embrace the European spirit, the only obligation was to form a project group with students from other universities. Besides FHNW, the participating universities included the University of Applied Sciences in Kiel/Germany, EAL in Denmark, UBB in Romania or the University of Skopje, Macedonia amongst others. The aim was to prepare a poster and a handout to present the chosen project at the festival in Graz.
After two months of intense festival preparation and regular Skype meetings, the EYA Festival finally started November 29 in Graz. The opening was moderated by Adam Montandon and Steffi Limère from EAL, Denmark, who presented their creative Factory of Imagination. They were dressed like mad scientists and assigned crazy names to the student groups. All group members had to introduce themselves to the others and invent a crazy job position they wanted to hold in this imaginary company. The aim was to step by step invent a product that our company wanted to launch. Imagination was limitless as the goal of this creative session was to come up with extraordinary and fun ideas. As the whole product and project requirements were totally unrealistic, it was necessary to think outside the box, which led to a great atmosphere in the groups. The presentations to the others groups were even crazier as they included throwing paper balls. It was great fun and quite easy to work with people from several European countries during the team session. Because of the creative nature of the tasks, it was easy to break the ice with others and to build first networks, not only within your own project group.
The Factory of Imagination (photo: EYA).
“Ten Meters of Thinking”
After this introduction with the Factory of Imagination on the Murinsel, the official opening ceremony of the EYA Festival 2017 was held in the City Hall of Graz. After speeches from Peter Bruck, Honorary Chairman ICNM and several guest speakers and a short presentation of the winning projects, the festival was officially underway.
Intensive group discussion (photo: EYA).
The following two days were packed with workshops, speeches, and presentations. The schedule of Thursday, 30 November, included events such as the EYA Campfire, “Ten Meters of Thinking” by Paul Hughes, workshops on Skills & Capacity Building and the Winners’ Presentations. Paul Hughes’ concept “Ten Meters of Thinking” about both company- and personal growth was particularly inspiring for many of the festival participants.
The morning of the third day of the festival was dedicated to the subject of micro networking. In mixed groups, we had the opportunity to discuss the topic of micro networking with several mentors. We discussed not only the definition of a micro network, but also the challenges and opportunities of micro networks and what the future of networking might look like. In the afternoon, at the Chamber of Commerce Styria, all student groups were given the opportunity to present their posters and handouts on the chosen projects to the other students and the jury.
The students had a great time at the EYA Festival (photo: EYA).
In the evening, the official award ceremony took place at the gala evening at the “Dom im Berg”. After all winning projects were presented, the winners were awarded their prizes and after some beautiful show acts, it was further announced that the Miwuki international team (category Open Innovation) would win the prize for the best poster and presentation. This meant that FHNW was represented in the winning team of 2017 again.
I am sure that my fellow students who joined the EYA Festival agree that the whole festival was a fantastic experience and I am very happy and thankful that I was a part of it. Already the project preparation phase was a great experience and I was so lucky to work with such a great team with people from all over Europe. I hope I will see them again soon and might get another opportunity to work together again. The atmosphere could not have been any better and I would appreciate to participate again another year.