Paris, 7 July 2020 – SPIE France, a subsidiary of the SPIE Group, the independent European leader in multi-technical services in the areas of energy and communications, held its “Invent the Post-Covid-19 City” Innovathon, an event initiated by the Group’s digital subsidiary, SPIE ICS, from 3 to 5 July 2020. This second Innovathon, held entirely virtually, was a resounding success and rewarded three particularly innovative projects. All the projects proposed focused on a desire to contribute to a more inclusive and environmentally friendly society.
A city that truly listens to its users
“This edition was held against the backdrop of the health crisis that has called into question the way we see the world. Our objective was to incorporate this new constraint into a global reflection on what the city of tomorrow and its various components (buildings, infrastructure, transport, etc.) will look like”, explains Mohsen Karimi, Design, Innovation and Transformation Director at the SPIE ICS Île de France department.
A collaborative, learning dynamic
The participants (students, freelancers, career starters, jobseekers, senior citizens and SPIE staff members) formed multidisciplinary teams, pitched their ideas and then had 54 hours to design innovative solutions suitable for the city of tomorrow. They were supported by 22 mentors (experts, directors, startuppers and entrepreneurs) from a wide range of backgrounds (SPIE, Cisco, the town of Issy-Les-Moulineaux, Microsoft, Orange, Obconnect, L’Ascenseur Corpo, TOUCAN TOCO, Electis, LR Design D’Espace & Environnement, Datategy, and many more).
Cyril Mechiche, a service architect at SPIE ICS and Innovathon participant adds: “Although we were collaborating virtually, the project I worked on brought together a team in which members really complemented each other, with a truly user-focused vision. This weekend was a fantastic human story that was about much more than just the technology.”
Three teams rewarded
The prizes were awarded by a jury of seven members: Eric Legale (town of Issy Le Moulineaux), Alain Dubas (Cisco), Siham Laux (Ôfildesvoisins), Mickaël Gandecki (MyFood), Pierre-Etienne Bardin (Groupe La Poste), Corinne Figuereo (SPIE France) and Cédric Périer (SPIE ICS), the president of the jury, and were decided on the basis of four criteria: market validation, business model, execution and design, innovative nature of the solution.
The winners selected by the jury presented projects that put citizens at the heart of the city:
- First prize: Smart Medical Assistant: an app based on voice recognition that allows healthcare professionals to update patient files in real time.
- Second prize: Smart Exchange: a service offer that enables cities to better define and pilot their sustainable development activities
- Third prize: Urbis Elec: this is the collective citizen reappropriation of local energy production for their own needs
Safa Meraghni, PhD student in computer science, who heads up the winning project, adds that “managing a team is like discovering yourself. You have to go beyond the purely technical angle and listen closely to each team member so that you can create a more global vision. I’ve grown in confidence and am looking forward to implementing the project!”
The event was held using the collaborative Webex software developed by Cisco, one of the Innovathon partners. “The Webex platform allowed us to simultaneously manage the public moment of the Innovathon and to create a friendly digital environment that was suitable for collaboration between teams throughout the weekend”, explains Alain Dubas, Cisco Director of Operations.
“Organising a two-day event in a fully online format was a real challenge that we decided to take on. In return, the project leaders gave a fine demonstration of our resilience as human beings, in the face of unprecedented circumstances”, adds Cédric Périer, SPIE ICS Managing Director.
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