The Innovation Journey

The Innovation Journey is a critical element of the MSc Energy for Smart Cities programme that runs over the two years of study. During the innovation journey you will work in teams on a real-world challenge set by one of our start-up or industry partners. You use Systematic Inventive Thinking® (SIT) tools to prompt innovative thinking and manage its implementation. The end goal of the innovation journey is to create a feasible prototype of a new product or service that can be developed for market.

1. There are three milestones on the innovation journey, each consisting of a one-week course in a different European city:Smart cities week, Barcelona: At the beginning of smart cities week, our partner companies present you with a number of real-world innovation-related challenges. In a group with fellow students, you analyse the challenges using SIT tools, develop a proposal and present it to your colleagues. During smart cities week, you will gain new insights into innovation methodologies, the link between business and innovation strategy, rapid prototyping, effective communication, and future trends among start-ups working in the field of smart cities. Smart cities week coincides with the annual Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona.

2. BIZ boot camp, Leuven: At the BIZ boot camp you and your team-mates work on the business model for your proposed prototype. The BIZ boot camp helps you understand the value creation process, and equips you with creativity and brainstorming techniques, market research, business creation and modelling methodologies, as well as intellectual property (IP) tools needed to bring innovation successfully to market.

3. Entrepreneurship Summer School, Amsterdam: The final stage in the innovation journey. During the week-long entrepreneurship school in Amsterdam, you focus on innovation methodologies and apply the finishing touches to your prototype, before presenting it to peers and industry experts using storytelling and elevator-pitch techniques.

The Innovation Journey is also a completion among the student teams. You can win KI€coins – the virtual currency of the MSc Energy for Smart Cities programme. You can invest KI€coins in products or services that will get your proposed innovation up and running, to build a prototype, or to support the innovative and entrepreneurial skills of your team members – exactly the same decisions and choices that any other start-up would face.

There are up to 10,000 KI€coins available in each round, and each KI€coin is worth one euro.