This year, once again, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield organised and welcomed a second edition of the URW Hackathon with HEC students in the Entrepreneur and SASI Masters. The theme of this year’s hackathon: reinventing retail destinations attracting millions of consumers.
For the second year in a row (if you want to know more on the projects rewarded last year, you can click here), Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield welcomed the Hackathon with students from HEC Paris in the Entrepreneurs and Sustainability and Social Innovation Masters in its headquarters. This Hackathon aimed at making the participants think of creating an innovative space offering new activities that have never been seen in a shopping centre before.
After being welcomed by Jean Collet, Director of URW Link, the Group’s open innovation platform, ten groups were formed to work on elaborating their projects in two days and to find solutions to “invent the new retail destinations” on a given space of 5,000 sqm.
Throughout this Hackathon, the 36 students worked in the Mixer, the area dedicated to innovation in Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s offices, and were coached by many mentors from Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and HEC Paris. These interventions enabled them to clarify, deepen and finalise their concepts in order to pitch achieved projects at the preselection phase in front of two juries.
The final selection after two days of enthusiastic hard work
After this preselection phase of great level, five out of the ten groups were chosen for the final phase. The finalists had the opportunity to present their projects to an high-profile jury gathering Anne-Sophie Sancerre, Managing Director Retail France at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, Julie Villet, URW Lab and CSR Director at Unibail-Rodmaco-Westfield, Alexandre Mars, founder of the VC fund Blisce and the Epic Foundation, Raphaëlle Gautier, Executive Director of Corporate Partnerships & Careers at HEC Paris and Audrey Gentilucci, co-founder and president at Label Experience that collaborated with the Group for the opening of the concept store Pyramid. at the Carrousel du Louvre.
The jury was pleased to discover ambitious, surprising and achieved projects, and had to choose three winning projects:
- The first winner is , which would be a totally silent space among a shopping centre, that aims to immerse visitors in a calm, peaceful and disconnected area. Shhh. offers for example a silent café with deaf mute waiters/waitresses, a spa, a library, a meditation center and a separated isolated zone for kids.
- The project that won second place is U Care, a healthcare centre that would give access to many paramedical and medical specialties (general practitioner, ophthalmologist, dentist, psychologist, physical therapy, etc.) for walk-in consultations.
- Finally, the project that came third is The Button Society, an inclusive project promoting social interactions for seniors. They would be able to enjoy a large offer of activities and events (sports, creative and manual workshops, conferences…) while participating to mentoring programmes for younger people. The goal is, just like Benjamin Button (in the movie of the same name), to help silvers take care of themselves and get younger as they grow older.
This Hackathon aims to encourage and develop open innovation among Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield by resorting to students creativity that offers new perspectives on the Group’s projects. The Group will work on these concepts in the near future and would like to thank all the students who took part in this experience!Julie Villet