The Innovation Challenge® was created and is operated by Idea Crossing, whose mission is to help organizations capture the world's imagination and use it to solve crucial strategic challenges. Sponsors of this year's Innovation Challenge include American Express OPEN(SM) and Hilton Hotels which sponsored the winning prizes, aswell as the Navy Federal Credit Union, RBC Bank, and the Pioneer Portfolio of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
This year's Innovation Challenge® attracted 264 teams from 55 schools for a total of 1139 contestants representing 48 countries worldwide.Ten Teams qualified for the finals this year from a variety of business schools across the country, including the Australian Graduate School of Management, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Manchester Business School (with two teams), University of Washington, UC Davis, VCU Brandcenter and the Darden School of Business, with three teams.
Darden's two winning teams, Team Wildhoos and Team Alchemy won the American Express OPEN Award and the $20,000 overall prize that is presented to the most innovative MBA team, and was designated 'The Most Innovative MBA Team in the World.' Team Wildhoos was made up of Darden students Joanna Johnson, Katie Wilson, Kathryn Adams, Andrew Hutchinson and Austin Collins. Team Alchemy won the Hilton Award, and consisted of Darden students Michael Mills, Andrew Beasley, Jon Pugh, and Doug Hopek.
'On behalf of Idea Crossing, I would like to congratulate the winners of this year's Innovation Challenge competition,' said Anil Rathi, CEO & Founder of Idea Crossing. 'After several attempts in previous years, this was the first time student teams from the hosting institution won the competition. It was also the first year that we chose to allow the sponsors - American Express OPEN and Hilton - to each award their top choice. All the judges together picked an overall 1st place winner across both days of presentations. It was not considered likely that one team would win more than one prize, but Darden teams swept all three top prize categories. '
Philippe Sommer, a director at the Batten Institute commented, 'On behalf of the Darden School of Business and the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship, and of course Team Wildhoos and Team Alchemy, it is a true honor to accept these awards. We are proud of the 38 Darden Teams and 142 Darden students who participated, and are particularly proud of the students on teams Wildhoos and Alchemy for sweeping all three top prize categories, including, of course, the honorific, ‘Most Innovative MBA Team in the World. This success is all the more gratifying since in prior years Darden teams either did not place among the finals, or if they did, failed to win.''
About Idea Crossing, Inc.
Idea Crossing is the owner and operator of the Innovation Challenge ® competitions, the MBA edition is the largest competition of its kind in the world, consistently uniting hundreds of teams from the top 100 MBA programs worldwide with some of the biggest global brands in a groundbreaking experience designed to solve real-world business challenges. In January 2009, Idea Crossing and Arizona State University is launching the first Healthcare Innovation Challenge. Interested sponsors can visit www.ideacrossing.com for more information.
Idea Crossing helps organizations capture the world's imagination and use it to solve strategic challenges. Idea Crossing designs and produces idea contests or innovation competitions using its customizable software platform called Challenge Accelerator®. Over the last six years, Idea Crossing has designed, powered and supported several competitions for global brands, large foundations and academic organizations. Idea Crossing's competitions have been featured in leading publications like CNN Money, Business 2.0, Inc. Magazine, Chicago Tribune and many others on the topic of open innovation, crowdsourcing, crowdcasting and philanthropic innovation prizes.
About the Darden School of Business
Consistently ranked among the world's best MBA programs, the DardenSchool of Business improves society by developing principled leadersfor the world of practical affairs. To accomplish this, we embrace a rigorous and collaborative approach to learning that inspires informed judgment, decisive action, and a global, enterprise perspective. The Princeton Review ranked Darden #1 in the "Best Professors" category in the 2009 edition of its "Best 296 Business Schools."
About the Batten Endowment
Entrepreneurship courses were first offered at the Darden School in1961. In 1996, and 2000 generous gifts from UVa alumnus Frank Batten, Sr., former CEO and Chairman of Landmark Communications and founder ofthe Weather Channel, the Batten family of Norfolk, Virginia, and its Landmark Foundation led to the creation of the Batten Endowment. The Batten Endowment created and supports the Batten Institute which is an academic institute seeking to improve society by creating new knowledge about the transformative power of entrepreneurship and innovation.. The Batten Endowment also supports the Entrepreneurship Program at Darden, educating and cultivating principled, entrepreneurial leaders through experiential programs such as the Innovation Challenge®.