Ten days ago, the annual Hackathon organised by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield took place with students from HEC Paris and E-ArtSup to develop projects on “smart cities” and “mixed-use destinations”.
The “mixed-use destinations”, multipurpose real estate projects, at the heart of the #URWHackathon
56 students from HEC Paris et E-ArtSup took part in this annual challenge to create projects on the topic “the city of tomorrow”, to enhance the quality of life in urban areas by offering solutions that optimize and mutualize spaces and make cities smarter. The goal of this hackathon was to create more desirable “mixed-use destinations” and to bring new usages (residential, offices, etc.) in order to make sure Millennials would familiarize quickly with Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.
On Friday night, the students were welcomed by Olivier Bossard, Group Chief Development Officer, who showed them how the property developer business was changing fast and needed to be innovative. Afterwards, throughout the weekend, 10 teams elaborated their projects at the Mixer, the space dedicated to innovation at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield offices. Three aspects of their projects had to be clearly defined: the product, its environmental impact and its financial feasibility. To do so, they benefited from experts’ support: 20 mentors from HEC and Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield helped them dig, fine-tune and challenge their ideas to make them as innovative as possible.
On Monday morning, after working two days in a highly motivating group dynamic, the 10 teams presented their projects to a jury made of URW experts. They selected three projects that stood out for the final phase: pitching in front of a prestigious jury, made up of the Group’s CEO Christophe Cuvillier, Group Chief Development Officer Olivier Bossard, Director of URW Lab and CSR Julie Villet, Managing Director Retail France Anne-Sophie Sancerre, and Managing Director Offices France, Hotels and Mixed-Use projects Europe Bruno Donjon, as well as Executive Director of Corporate Partnerships & Careers at HEC Paris Raphaëlle Gautier. The jury thoroughly enjoyed the projects, and was pleased to see bold innovative ideas take form in such a short period of time.
Zoom on the 3 winning projects: Tom & Josette, Unitree and Unlimited Realities
The project that received the first prize is Tom & Josette: their idea is to develop inter-generational places combining families, children, retired people and co-workers, who can all collaborate, help et learn from each other by spending time together (through sport classes, child care spaces, coworking spaces…).
The second prize was awarded to Unitree, a project that consists in creating a holographic tree, as the emblem of a neighbourhood, which grows from its interactions with people, encouraging them to participate more actively in the community life and to adopt more virtuous behaviours.
Finally, the third project awarded was Unlimited Realities, a construction project in blocks (lego-style) where users can have access to flexible and personalized space depending on their needs. The idea is to created “Space as a service” so that users can acquire it and dispose of it when no longer needed.
This hackathon is part of the Group’s will to develop open innovation as an answer to the challenges faced in a fast-changing environment. Working with students helps bring a fresh look on the Group’s projects and think of innovative solutions to redesign urban areas of tomorrow.
We are delighted to have organised this hackathon, the pitches were very exciting and enriching. We wanted to thank all participants for their work and involvement, and we cannot wait to renew this kind of experience in the future.Julie Villet
This hackathon was a unique opportunity for HEC and E-ArtSup students to work on innovation topics linked to URW business. The students from the MSc in Sustainability, the MSc Entrepreneurs and the MSc Digital, really complemented one another, so we discovered very creative and complete projects.Déborah Keraghel