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MBA class raises bar at 2017 Innovation Bootcamp

3/02/2017
What happens when you put an Australian lawyer, Canadian civil engineer, Chinese venture capitalist and computer scientists from Vietnam and Korea in the same room? You get Smartbar –not a clever place to drink but but a novel way to monitor weightlifting effectiveness.
 
The idea won the 2017 Innovation Bootcamp competition for Full-time MBA students at Melbourne Business School in January, and it might soon be part of every professional athlete’s armoury if competition judge, Georgia Beattie, CEO of Startup Victoria, has her way.

“We run a monthly pitch night at Startup Victoria, where you’re in front VPs, angel investors, entrepreneurs, mentors and experts,” Georgia said. “I’d love to see the Smartbar and Delivery1 concepts presented to that audience, who can help give great ideas a really good crack.”

bootcamp Judges
Innovation Bootcamp judges (L–R) Simon Wilkins, Georgia Beattie and Jack Rejtman.

The Delivery1 app idea, allowing consumers to say how much they’re willing to pay for a delivery outside normal working hours, took second place.

Bootcamp organiser Associate Professor Kwanghui Lim said the Full-time MBA competition has proved so popular over that past three years that a similar exercise was added to our part-time program last November.

“Innovation is essential for business success and survival these days. It’s involves identifying a problem, finding a solution and showing the advantage that solution can deliver,” Kwanghui said.

This year’s 10 teams raised the bar with the quality of their business models and pitches. In the first 30 seconds of her pitch, Ami Price-Gagnon from the CloudGarage team had the judges hooked on the prospect of connecting people’s piles of accumulated stuff with vacant spaces around town.

But it wasn’t enough to grab top honours from Georgia and her fellow judges, the University of Melbourne’s Jack Rejtman, Director (Research and Commercial Engagement and co-founder of The Conversation, and Simon Wilkins, who leads innovation development at Carlton Connect and directs the University’s research translation program TRaM.

Kwanghui said the week-long competition is an intense journey for the teams, who test and refine their ideas through market research and tough analysis before facing the judges.

While Innovation Bootcamp honours success, the competition isn’t just about winning. Dean Dribben said his Brella Buddy team worked on several concepts before settling, at the last minute, on their idea for a network of umbrella hire pods around Melbourne.

“We probably learnt more in a week about innovation than the winning teams,” Dean said. “What we gained from our mistakes, and the progress we made as a team, was absolutely invaluable.”

To find out more about our innovation-focused MBAs and program units such as Innovation Bootcamp and the Entrepreneurial Mindset, visit our degree programs page.