By Daphnée Malboeuf
More than 1,000 individuals from five different continents will participate in Les 24h de l’innovation, a competition held by the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) in parallel to the Montréal Summit on Innovation (MSI), on May 23.
The event, organized annually by ÉTS since 2012, brings together people from all over the world.
The goal of this competition is simple. Every participating team has 24 hours to find a creative solution to challenges set by private companies, public institutions or local organizations.
“It’s an event that we organize every year, at the same time as C2 Montréal,” explains Ahmed Cherifi, one of the event organizers and a lecturer at ÉTS. “It starts at 9 a.m. EST and ends 24 hours later. Since this is an international event, we have to deal with different time zones.”
At the end of the 24 hours, teams must present their solutions to different panels of judges through a two-minute video. The panels, scattered across different countries, will each determine which is the most attractive project in their sector. The international jury, gathered in Montréal for the occasion, will then select the best three videos and present the three winners.
“Usually, during the competition, we have about 20 sites abroad,” says Cherifi. The companies or local organizations will be asked to propose a challenge; for example, a problem that they cannot solve because of time or resource constraints. The participants themselves can form teams or even join pre-formed teams in order to solve various challenges.
Cherifi says that the competition is open to all. Citizens, professionals, students of all levels, even elementary school students, as well as different associations are invited to participate. “The candidates are free to register themselves. There are no prerequisites,” guarantees the engineer.
Each team member must play a specific role in the production of the video. Among the themes examined during the competition are ecology, development, creativity and innovation.
“For people who have already participated, it has opened the door for them to start their own businesses or build startups,” says Cherifi. “It’s a starting point that will encourage them to continue generating creative solutions that will solves challenges and issues.”
According to the ÉTS instructor, Les 24h de l’innovation represents a unique chance to see what is happening elsewhere while continuing to innovate.
“The basic idea was to replicate the original concept from France. We then decided to continue partnering with universities across the world, because it’s like a marriage between two different cultures with two different ways of thinking. Universities in China, the United States or Europe all have different ideas,” he says. “Thinking and creativity, in our opinion, are not at all the same, so it can help to look for complementarity when developping new ideas in entrepreneurship.”