Rendezvous with Henkel Innovation Challenge 7 National Finalists

Last year Geethika Goel and Mayank of FMS won the national finals of Henkel Innovation Challenge 7. This delhi team beat 9 Indian colleges and secured third place in the global finals hosted in Germany. We had a chat with Mayak on his journey of HIC 7. Here is what he had to say….

Why did you decide to take part in HIC 7?

The competition allowed for application outside the classroom. We’ve participated in a lot of b school competitions but this one was unique. We got a canvas to paint our ideas about the future and innovate about new technology which is about 40 years away.


What is the value of this challenge?

The most valuable part was that we got to work with professionals on the field. It was not just a challenge but a project which exposed us to a lot of new experiences. We met the CEO and German professionals as well. We were given constant guidance to reach higher levels at every step.


What kept you motivated at the start of the competition?

There was a chance to travel to Germany and interact with senior professionals there. Besides, this idea wouldn’t have been brought to life on any other platform besides Henkel Innovation Challenge


What was their big idea and what triggered the it?

The idea was to develop an electromagnetic surface coating which would harvest the stray electromagnetic waves around and convert them into electricity which could then be used to power future cars, homes and electronic devices. There is a high density of electromagnetic waves all around us and a lot of gadgets in use as well. This is a sustainable method to harness energy that is otherwise going waste

We came across a research paper which triggered this idea for us. It was especially appealing because this is a way of reducing the harm that electromagnetic waves pose to our health as they can be carcinogenic in nature.


What inspired you and got you going inspite of being busy in academics?

We had the passion to excel and the biggest incentive was the prize money, the chance to meet the CEO of Henkel and the opportunity to travel

How did you divide the work between the two of you?

We deliberated back and forth for days before selecting and fine tuning our idea. I am a marketing major and a finance minor whereas Geethika is a finance major and a marketing minor. For all the powerpoint parameters, we divided the work accordingly and worked in the cycle of – deliberate, do your part, collate, deliberate again.


How was your experience at Dusseldorf for the finals?

It was a surreal experience. There were a total of 30 countries competing in the finals which spanned over 3 days. We were divided into 4 groups. There were 6 teams in our group and we had to compete within ourselves for 2-3 rounds of which 2 made it to the top 8. The last year FMS HIC team had qualified to the top 30 but did not make it to the top 8. We were determined to get to the finals. The top 8 had to present before of a jury for the grand finale and the results were then announced at the gala dinner.


What feedback did you get from the judges?

That we demonstrated a steep learning curve. Initially we were the underdogs but slowly towards the end, we gave stiff competition to the other teams. Our interactions with our mentor Alejandro Sehonhoss greatly helped us improve.


One special moment that stands out in your memory

The final result declaration at the gala dinner. We weren’t expecting a podium finish but we were the first to be called on stage as we were the second runners up. It was the best defining moment of my life


Advice for Henkel Innovation Challenge 8 participants

Read the problem statement carefully. It says ‘sustainable innovation for future years’. Make sure your idea is for the future and will help Henkel and the country in the long term