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Wednesday 02 April 2014

Master in Management Programme “Business in Europe” seminar: The Sustainable Innovation Challenge

A 2-day seminar on sustainable innovation, both societal and environmental: the new entrepreneurial challenge for Europe on ESCP Europe Campus Berlin 27-28 February, London 14-15 March, and Paris 28-29 March.

The final seminar in the 2-year Master in Management programme gives students the opportunity to compete against each other to develop innovative sustainable solutions to real challenges put forth by social entrepreneurs in Germany, the UK and France.   The exercise is particularly pertinent for soon-to-be graduates:  innovation and sustainability are essential topics for ESCP Europe students to take with them into their professional lives.  The need to innovate is more important than ever due to the fast-changing world where traditional players and established models are constantly questioned.  Ms Chantal Jouanno, current Senator and founder of the think-tank Ecolo Ethik sponsored the event.

The Seminar Design

The event was divided into three parts:

  1. an introductory round table involving academics, experts, and professionals,
  2. the Social Innovation Game organised by SenseSchool, designed to help students understand social and sustainable innovation in a practical way,
  3. the final pitch of the teams’ solutions to a jury selected the most innovative and implementable solution.

The Challenge

“The Social Innovation Challenge” game was carried out on three ESCP Europe campuses, in chronological order: Berlin, London and Paris.  It consisted of social entrepreneurs posing their real-life challenges needed for their development.  Students formed into teams were briefed, then set to work using creativity tools and methodologies designed to create innovative projects.  At the end of the teams’ working sessions, they pitched their solutions to juries made up of ESCP Europe faculty, the companies posing the challenges, and members of SenseSchool, creator of the game.  The winners in Berlin and London went on to the final round in Paris on 29 March.

The Winners:  Groupe Ares and Team “Philanthropiacs”

The winning team, the self-named “Philanthropiacs,” included ESCP Europe students from Belgium, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia and Taiwan.  They came up with an innovative, sustainable and implementable solution to the challenge posed by Ares, a group of associations providing support to the long-term unemployed:

"What new ecological services can Ares develop for Paris and the surrounding areas?"


  • The activity must be profitable in the first year
  • The service will be proposed to companies and local authorities
  • Employ 50 people from 2018 onwards


  • The launching budget is limited to 50 K
  • This activity is a springboard for the long-term unemployed to re-enter the workforce
  • The activity must be able to be carried out by low-skilled labor
  • Ecological focus

The Winning Solution

The solution: create a partnership with Cartridge World, a leading provider of printer cartridge refilling services.  The new Ares service will provide pick-up of used cartridges and delivery of refilled cartridges to companies in Paris and the surrounding areas. The service will be carried out by bicycle messenger needing no special training, “recruited” through Ares.

For more information and photos of the event, read the Storify report below.

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