MIB-led Teams Gain Finalist Slots in UN Breakthrough Innovation Challenge 2017

May 15, 2017

Three teams led by students of the pioneer class of our Master of Science in Innovation and Business (MIB) program bested 130 teams from around the world to be among the seven finalists at the United Nations’ Breakthrough Innovation Challenge (BIC). The teams, with members from the current MBA and MDM cohorts, will showcase their innovative ideas and participate in the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit on 21 September 2017 at the United Nations in New York City.

BIC provides students from schools affiliated with the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative the opportunity to build solutions to advance the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Seven multinationals set challenges for how their technologies can be used toward this end, and then selected seven student-teams whose ideas they wanted to work with over the next four months.

The winning ideas from AIM were from Team Bayanihan, Team Cultivate, and Team Poweblo.

Team Bayanihan

Through gamification, Team Bayanihan wants to develop a platform that will create a culture of information-sharing and feedback to enhance the livelihood of 1.88 million consultants of Natura. Natura manufactures beauty products marketed by its consultants in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. The proposed solution supplements the existing mobile platform to create a community out of Natura’s consultants. The team is composed of MIB team leader Jeremy Bedano, and members Emil Tanchico (MBA), and Dongwei Tan (MDM). Jeremy relishes the experience of working with students from the other degree programs, as it mirrors a real-life workplace situation. “Working with Emil and Dongwei really widened my horizon and helped during the brainstorming process. Particularly, inputs from Emil helped us identify the features needed for our solution while also analyzing its feasibility. Dongwei, on the other hand, provided a lot of insights with regard to community development and how the potential target users might perceive or accept the community-based solution. Our diverse backgrounds helped us come up with distinctive insights that ensured we addressed the problem from different angles.”

Team Bayanihan (from left): Dongwei Tan (MDM 2017), MIB Team Leader Jeremy Bedano, and Emil Tanchico (MBA 2017)
Team Bayanihan (from left): Dongwei Tan (MDM 2017), MIB Team Leader Jeremy Bedano, and Emil Tanchico (MBA 2017)


Team Cultivate

Team Cultivate’s proposal involves a commission-based business model that enables locals to learn and teach sustainable agricultural practices through the use of mobile technology. This is in response to a challenge from Braskem, the largest petrochemical company in Latin America. The team is composed of MIB team leader Leonard Cruz, and members Crystal Anievas (MDM), and Prashant Verma (MBA). When asked to reflect on the work they’ve done so far, Leonard notes that, “What glues us together is less of the recognition if ever we win, but more of creating a positive impact in a community, which in our case, are the farmers in Brazil.”

Team Cultivate (from left): MIB Team Leader Leonard Cruz, with members Crystal Anievas (MDM 2017) and Prashant Verma (MBA 2017).
Team Cultivate (from left): MIB Team Leader Leonard Cruz, with members Crystal Anievas (MDM 2017) and Prashant Verma (MBA 2017).


Team Poweblo

Team Poweblo’s plan aims to address Iberdrola’s challenge of providing everyone with access to clean and affordable energy. This will enable the Spanish electric utility company to use smart technologies to share and sell renewable energy between homes. The team is comprised of MIB team leader Jon de Omana, together with Saksham Kumar (MBA 2017). When they were brainstorming, Jon says that, “We remembered Tesla doing solar panels that look like normal roof tiles as well as Revolution Precrafted, a Philippine-based company that builds pre-crafted homes. I thought, what if we could sell pre-crafted homes with solar panel roofs and connect them to a smart grid?” The team’s name is a play on power and the Spanish word, pueblo, for village.

Team Poweblo
Two-man Team Poweblo: Saksham Kumar (MBA) with Jon de Omana (MIB)


BIC stands as only one of the innovation projects that the MIB students are currently working on. This emphasis on collaboration across disciplines and with multiple stakeholders is a hallmark of the program, and one that MIB Program Director, Prof. Matthew Escobido believes will stand the MIB graduates in good stead.

For more information on the competition, visit: http://www.unprme.org/working-groups/display-working-group.php?wgid=3701

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