Companies give engineering students new innovation challenges

Due to the current COVID-19 health crisis, the 12th edition of Fest’Innov, slated for this year, has been canceled. In order to maintain close relationships with its partner companies, ECAM Lyon is giving them the opportunity to leverage the brainpower of engineering students to meet specific innovation challenges through the Innovation Strategy and Management program. On several occasions, small teams of senior-year ECAM Arts & Métiers engineering students will compete to tackle the challenges put forward by these companies in an effort to offer them achievable, innovative solutions.

A wide variety of innovation projects

With help from experts in the field and teachers, the teams strengthen their creativity, hone their project management skills and develop their ability to grasp a new problem and argue the merits of the solution they propose. In a word, to become agile, versatile engineers! 

One of the first challenges involved designing a system to collect marker cones used in sporting events. Participating students pitched their solutions to a panel of judges. Since its launch, this program has won rave reviews from both companies (Spie Facilities and Somfy were the very first to offer subjects to work on) and engineering students.

Creative highlights

Though the face-to-face Fest’innov event cannot be held this year, the Innovation Strategy and Management program will feature a number of creativity workshops. For example, during a daylong session held in mid-October, teams of students competed to build a sturdy, functional one-meter-long bridge using only dried spaghetti, popsicle sticks, Blu Tack, scotch tape and glue. Thanks to their ingenuity, calculation skills, boldness and teamwork, the groups of engineering students truly outdid themselves.

“Society is changing quickly, and tomorrow’s engineers must be able to demonstrate their agility and their ability to adapt. To face current and future global challenges, innovation is the solution!” Nicolas Carron, teacher and researcher in the C2MI department