The CEMS Philippe Louvet Innovation Award aims to encourage innovation within the CEMS alliance, which will bring value to the community and its stakeholders. This is an incredible opportunity for all members of the CEMS community to exercise creativity and their collaborative spirit. The financial grant to carry out the winning project - offered by L’Oréal - amounts 20,000 Euros!
Last year CEMS students Damien Manhes , Dóra Szendeczki, and Jan- Niklas Franke, won the award for their noteworthy Social Impact Project (SIP) which aims to enable students to become impactful changemakers by going through a hands-on transformative experience and to strengthen the global impact of CEMS, thereby positing the alliance as a force for positive change. The trio has been developing the project further since they won the grant and shares a few tips and reflections on their experience with us below.
1. What motivated you to apply for the award & how did you get the idea for the SIP?
In our second CEMS semester at ESADE, our Global Leadership Course projects focused on how to develop CEMS from certain angles, in which our main aim was to strengthen the importance of global issues in several ways possible. The research has proved that student initiatives enable organizations to constantly focus and grow. Therefore, our team developed 5 strategic ideas to tackle global challenges with a focus on approaches led by students. The process of design during the course opened several new doors, which we felt needed further development.
In particular, the idea of the Social Impact Project came from the realisation that students are very exposed to the corporate world within CEMS, due to a large number of Corporate Partners of the alliance, and fewer to NGOs and other social ventures. We thought that broadening students' horizons would be beneficial to diversifying their knowledge portfolio. Furthermore, we believe that being immersed in day-to-day life and issues of populations in emerging countries is a transformative experience that can help in shaping responsible changemakers. The Philippe Louvet Award came as the perfect opportunity to elaborate and implement our idea of the Social Impact Project, as it has been the idea that stood out the most in terms of feasibility and impact. This award has provided a sufficient base for additional brainstorming and research on how well it will fit into CEMS’s culture and educational structure.
2. What were your next steps after winning the award?
After winning the award, we presented our project at the CEMS Annual Plenary Session to the Academic Directors and Deans of the different CEMS schools. We officially received our award on stage during the Graduation Ceremony in Cairo, a very emotional moment. The real work then started.
Since we started almost from scratch and had a project which is quite open-ended, we had to structure our approach and make strategic decisions to bring our Social Impact Project to life. Several stakeholders helped us in this process, such as Nicole de Fontaines (CEMS Executive Director) and Michael Kienle (Global VP talent acquisition at L'Oréal) as well as some CEMS academic directors and inspiring professors. Thanks to the guidance from these experienced mentors, we managed to create a roadmap and define targets for the pilot phase of our project. We also started building a network of NGOs and inspiring entrepreneurs to find impactful projects through which participating students can leverage their knowledge to help populations in developing countries resolve the social and environmental challenges they are facing. We are also working on creating a skill seminar in 2023 that will hopefully inspire students to become impactful changemakers.
3.What tips and advice would you have for the 2023 participants of the Philippe Louvet Innovation Award?
The Philippe Louvet Innovation Award has shown once again how much we can change if we try. Being the first student team ever to win the award was a great honour and showed us how receptive CEMS is for change. Hence, we would like to share three pieces of advice with this year’s participants:
- The first piece of advice is to realise that CEMS is an alliance that grows with the people who build it. Students, teachers, and all other stakeholders can and are invited to take an active role in CEMS to shape the alliance. The Philippe Louvet Innovation Award is the embodiment of that idea.
- Second, during our active time as students, we gained a lot from CEMS. Winning the award with a groundbreaking idea can be part of giving back to the alliance and future students.
- Third, think simple. What is it that you miss within CEMS? What should be improved? What innovation would enhance future students’ experience? After being an active part of CEMS, you are prepared with the best and most recent inside knowledge. Hence, the only thing that is left for you to do is to gather your thoughts, structure them and submit your idea.