The Climate KIC Journey is a 3-week summer school program that "has been especially created for students from outside Europe and will introduce [students] to 21 of the continent’s cutting-edge low carbon research centres and business initiatives." The program takes place in various locations over the course of the summer. One of its attendees provides an inside perspective on this amazing program. Read Part 1 of Kiran's Journey
Journey 3 – Bologna – Munich – Helsinki
Weeks 3 and 4 (16 – 28 July 2017)
The journey continues in Munich, Germany, with much more intensive ideation sessions followed by some prototyping. After we had identified our challenge at the end of our first leg in Bologna, the second leg in Munich was more about identifying solutions for the challenge and creating a green business out of it.
Technical University Munich Campus Tour – Photo Credit: Kiran Raj Rajan
The partner university which hosted us in Germany was the Technical University Munich (TUM) and the Entrepreneurship Centre of TUM. Our local journey manager was Mr. Dominik Beisser who works for the TUM as Education Manager. Mr. Dominik assisted us throughout the journey with various materials and insights on climate change. We also had a Munich Bike Tour, visit to the TU Munich Campus and Beer garden as a part of the welcome reception.
In the days that followed, we had several discussions with startup advisors from the Entrepreneurship Centre of TUM regarding our ideas. Our team focused on circular economy and reducing mixed loop materials for the toy industry. The design thinking workshop helped us in customer identification and market research for the challenge. As my team's challenge revolved around reducing waste streams, we identified the importance of this matter in the toy industry. We finally came up with a solution of modular toys which we named GrowToys for children between 0 – 3 years of age. This idea would offset the waste generated by the toy industry and at least 20000 tons CO2 equi. annually.
Brainstorming Sessions and Prototyping – Photo Credit: Kiran Raj Rajan
We had an interesting breakfast session with the BMW StartUp Garage located in Garching, Germany where we were briefed about the BMW’s sustainable development and startup incubation. Later, we had a MakerSpace tour where the actual hardware prototyping materializes. We also had rapid small-scale prototyping material available at our disposal for our ideas.
During the Journey in Munich we were also introduced to the Climate Impact forecast tool and the Financial Tool. These facilitated us to refine our ideas into climate and business solutions. To have a radical solution to the climate issue, Impact Hub Munich organized the “Kaleidoscope” for the students. This format is where the fellow students along with experienced social entrepreneurs gave us input on our ideas and on our final product. These opinions regarding the product helped us to direct into a uniform format to have a successful green business.
Impact Hub Munich – Photo Credit: Preslav, Journey 3 Participant
As we were continuing our products and business, we also received training in pitching our idea before the juries. We had a pitch rehearsal in Munich before our final pitch in Helsinki. We received positive feedback and suggestions from the juries in the pitch and the areas of improvement for the final pitch. One of the jury members was really into our idea of modular toys and provided a few contacts to take our idea further. Finally, to motivate our ideas, we attended the finals of the Climate KIC Launchpad where several mature start-ups competed for a grand prize.
One of the lessons learnt from these weeks was to focus on the business model of start-ups and financing our ideas. It is also important to know that it is never possible to please everyone in the market, hence, focus on finding your sweet spot. With this takeaway, we are heading into the final leg of this journey in Helsinki with an exciting 36-hour travel ahead of us. Packed and ready to depart.
in collaboration with The CommUnity Post