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Mawji Centre Hosts Its Fourth Innovation Challenge

NAIT Innovation Challenge

By Zeah Spiegel

Each year, the Mawji Centre hosts an innovation challenge for NAIT students.

It’s an opportunity to get involved and get innovative. Students are given a product or service concept and are tasked to transform it to a greater value.

Cecile Wendlandt, coordinator at the Mawji Centre, said this year the topic was innovating live sporting events.

“This year, we held an innovation challenge information session ahead of time. The teams had to register by March 9, and on the 10, the challenge was sent out to everybody. The deadline to submit was March 19, then it was in the judge’s hands,” said Wendlandt.

Students can work in teams and are able to learn from their teammates. Wendlandt said that by competing, students can expand their horizons and meet new people.

“They get to push themselves out of their comfort zone, and students have told us after that it was a great experience for them. They get exposed to great business leaders and guests that we invite to stream the videos,” said Wendlandt.

The winning NAIT students, Laura Kearl, Real LaFrance, and Katherine McDougall, were announced through a virtual reception.

The team members shared their thought processes and the steps they took to curate their innovative idea.

“We settled on a season ticket idea, and we thought through what different ways we could make it appealing,” said Kearl.

“It was the three of us talking about each of these steps, what is the problem, how is this solving it, and how do we sell it. Sometimes we weren’t able to answer those questions, but we captured it, moved down, and just followed that pattern until we felt like there was a whole program,” said LaFrance.

NAIT Innovation Challenge
2019 Innovation Challenge Winners Chris Neumann, Marcelo Borges and Thacia Frank | Photo via NAIT

Kearl said working in a team environment can be very encouraging if all participants are engaged.

“Your team can pick you off the ground when you feel like giving up, but your team doesn’t want to. That’s a good motivator,” said Kearl.

The team advises students who may want to try the challenge next year to take risks and reach out to others.

“Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you don’t know very well, like Laura. We didn’t know each other well before this, but she decided to reach out, and I’m really glad she did,” said McDougall.

“Don’t be afraid of it and get some people together and do it. Just try it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” said Kearl.

For more information on the innovation challenge and how to get involved, check here.

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