The sea, the sun, the colors and lots of laughter have accompanied the day of celebration and sharing between students and teachers of the two nations: Italy and Slovenia. The FestINNO event that took place on May 29th saw a succession of workshops and training activities in a very friendly and pleasant atmosphere that involved students, researchers and businesses.

During the event, the workshop of Design Thinking was achieved, in which the students were able to experiment a totally innovative and creative activity getting their imagination and imagination to work. The thirty students from Ca’ Foscari University and University of Primorska, divided into groups, faced a very difficult but exciting challenge: imagine an ideal cross-border business accelerator!

Students were asked to put themselves in the shoes of a startup and try to think about which elements could be the most attractive for the choice of a certain accelerator of companies from the location, to the services, up to the acceleration program.

The best Design Thinking projects

The six groups involved have developed very innovative projects that have provided interesting insights for the definition of an innovative cross-border acceleration model. Among the projects, concepts of network, exchange of people, sustainability and exchange and sharing between different nations and cultures emerged.

The first of these most interesting projects is that of the “Innomakers group” which has interpreted the accelerator as a network whose main objective is to create new contacts. The ideal acceleration model is seen as a tool to build collaboration and the exchange of relationships between suppliers, customers and investors. To add value to the accelerator, startups within this ideal accelerator are accompanied in their program of growth and transformation by high-level skills  professionals specialized in improving the image of startups in order to stimulate new potentials investors to finance projects.

The second project “Polaris”, in line with the latest trends on the fourth industrial revolution, interprets the accelerator as a user-centered design accelerator, an accelerator built on data collected by people. The first objective of this accelerator is to study the market and consumers and to collect big data through interviews, questionnaires and market research. These data are intended to be sold to companies (startups and not only) to develop new solutions for products and services or to be used internally to improve their acceleration programs and provide a better offer based on the needs expressed by the market. The project winning the Design Thinking challenge, “Accelerate Europe”, deserved the victory for its attention to very current topics such as sustainability, but above all it was the one that succeeded most of all in highlighting the concept of ” cross-border “through the creation of an international and flexible accelerator consisting of multidisciplinary and international figures. It is aimed at sustainable startups and supported by a multidisciplinary team of people, essential to make the process of acceleration better and more innovative. It is part of a flexible structure consisting of a European headquarter and subsidiaries located in European countries specialized in the typical sectors of the countries to which the subsidiaries belong, such as fashion in Italy, technology in Germany and agriculture in Macedonia.

The creative methodology of Design Thinking was a great incentive for the students who were able to compare and had fun in the exchange of ideas and projects. This event, in which Ca ‘Foscari University participated for the first year, gave the opportunity to students to meet new people, to compare different ideas and to share an experience that has generated stimulus and innovation for students and for all the participants which, without a doubt, will be better yet in the next years.