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TU Austria Innovation Marathon
European Forum Alpbach 2020

August 26 to 28, 2020

The following sequence of live spoken text and videos was broadcasted on Friday 28th of August at the Technology Symposium of the European Forum Alpbach 2020. 

The welcoming word were spoken by Georg Knill, President of the Federation of Austrian Industries:

My Name is Mario Fallast, I am the project lead for the TU Austria Innovation Marathon.

On behalf of TU Austria, the federation of the Austrian Universities of Technology in Vienna, Leoben and Graz, and host and main sponsor of this Event - a very warm welcome from Graz, Austria.

Those were the impressions of last year, and it is obvious that in this special year 2020 with the changed rules we had to come up with something different.

And we did - that´s why we are this year not in Alpbach even if this event is part of the European Forum Alpbach 2020.


Other things stayed the same:

For an event like this to be successful, many processes run simultaneously in the preparation phase, and some very important ingredients are necessary:


First "ingredient":  Companies must be on board.  And it's not just companies, much more important are the right individuals in these companies, who enjoy working with students and who appreciate the opportunities.
Three of them describe what their companies are doing in their businesses:

Second "ingredient":
the right local working environment in which we work together as a core team here in Graz. The list of requirements was quite long.Many hours of zoom conference without disturbing each other, on the other hand direct lines of sight and the possibility of spontaneous coordination meetings - also with our film and technology team.   

We also wanted to be able to show you how we work here in Graz.  We invested quite a lot of time to bring the requirements around a hat, and I think we did it well.

How it all looks from the outside was summarized in a video by David Köhlmeier,

But we didn't just have a beautiful view, we could also work wonderfully together:

Fourth "ingredient":
a great organizational team, working together in a highly professional and goal-oriented manner. I had the great pleasure of leading the entire organization and putting the building blocks together to create a total work of art out of it. Very important are our experienced innovation coaches, including Stefan Posch and Roland Waldner, who are together with me the founding fathers of the Innovation Marathon. The five innovation coaches [also Julia Achatz, Christina Duller, Markus Spiegel], each of whom supervises a task with the corresponding student teams, introduce themselves briefly:

Fifth "ingredient", and most important of all are our students.They have successfully applied for a scholarship at the European Forum Alpbach, and then faced up to the application process for the TU Austria innovations marathon. They were brave and crazy enough to join us in the first virtual TU Austria innovations marathon: They spent the 24 hours at home, and in our case that means: 25 - yes twentyfive! - different countries, at least 25 different worlds, a wide range of different fields of study - from human medicine to computer science, from architecture to cell biology, from law to linguistics.

We have briefly summarized what our collaboration looked like online, what happened on the screens and the online platforms used, and what we saw from the students in our "Mission Control Center" here in Graz. 

In the past 24 hours many questions were asked, countless ideas were generated, many of them were discarded (after they were documented) and carefully and selected ones were prepared in concepts for the companies. in the available time it is impossible to present all results of the 10 teams, so we decided to show at least five concepts here.

Bernhard from Liebherr is explaining their task - and our fellow students the results they came up with:

ams AG is participating for the second time in a row:

In keeping with the good tradition and to ensure valuable experience of the students and companies, we were again supported this year by the dedicated experts of the Austrian Patent Office. Research on the tasks was conducted in advance and the experts were available for questions and discussions.  I also had the opportunity to talk to Mariana Karepova, the President of the Austrian Patent Office, we had a zoom conference:

Thank you Mariana - you, but also your team - the cooperation is amazing, and I heard that your team was available until late evening to discuss preliminary results.

One of the regular customers of the Austrian Patent Office is AVL - a lot of Innovation going on inhouse - but still there´s space for further improvement and to fill the technology roadmap.
Michael Paulweber explains:

"Health, especially healthier food is also the topic of our next company partner.   
We all know how important healthy food is - but we also know about the power of bad habits.  
Changing the eating habits of Philips customers with the help of a mobile app was the task of Philips Klagenfurt

These were five examples of this year´s results, summarized in a brief and lively format. 

I would especially like to thank all students who filled this event with life and enthusiasm,
the company representatives who have been so committed ,
our supporting partners and the great team in Graz that made this first digital "TU Austria Innovation Marathon" possible.  
Many thanks also to the team of the European Forum in Alpbach and Vienna.

My [Mario Fallast] job is now done, it was an amazing experience, I say goodbye, see you again in Alpbach, I  hand over to Harald Kainz, the President of TU Austria. 

Bonus Track 1: get a guided tour through our working environment:

Bonus Track 2: 24 hours of TU Austria Innovation Marathon in 2:20 min.

Special Thanks to David Köhlmeier for the amazing videos and the professional and fun cooperation!

Special thanks to Stephan Lippitsch for setting up the light/sound/IT infrastructure to stage and stream an event like this so professionally!

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