Jiffy Lube International and Samsung Electronics among corporate sponsors that presented 2010 Innovation Challenge problem statements

Los Angeles, CA – December 23, 2010

Leading skill-based contest agency and software provider, Idea Crossing, announced today that Team Haastile Takeover from the Haas School of Business from the University of California at Berkeley is the winner of the 8th Annual Innovation Challenge. The Innovation Challenge requires MBA student-led teams of 3-5 graduate level students from across all disciplines to clearly articulate imaginative solutions to real-world issues. Other finalists included teams from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. The 2010 Innovation Challenge, the largest competition of it’s kind, was developed in partnership with forward-looking corporate sponsors like Samsung Electronics and Jiffy Lube International, Inc. (JLI).

The Berkeley MBA team, consisting of Rahul Bijor, Blake Holland, Brandon Piper, Nancy Unsworth, and Scott Van Brunt, competed in the business model innovation category. “Our proposal was titled ‘In Tune by Jiffy Lube®’ and involved creating an online vehicle maintenance management portal for car owners,” said team leader Blake Holland.

“For more than 30 years, Jiffy Lube has been an integral part of the North American driving experience and has been committed to supporting drivers with fast, quality preventive maintenance services,” says Jim Webster, Strategic Innovation & Development Manager for JLI. “To win in the marketplace and maintain our leadership position in the Fast Lube category, innovation is imperative.”

To win, the Berkeley team’s concept plan first had to be selected as one of 15 semi-finalists during a two round evaluation by more than 100 business professors, innovation experts, entrepreneurs, and sponsors from previous years’ Innovation Challenges. Three of the 15 semi-finalists, 1 from each challenge category, were chosen as finalists after a web-enabled presentation to a committee made up of key executive staff from each of the sponsors. On Friday December 17th, Team Haastile Takeover from UC Berkeley was chosen as the overall winner after live head to head presentations by all three finalists in front of a small, select and diverse panel of innovation experts.

“We were very impressed with all of the submissions received and value the fresh perspectives on how we can better meet the needs of Generation Y drivers,” continued Webster. “We thank each and every team for developing and submitting their thoughtful and innovative proposals. We congratulate Team Haastile Takeover from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business for their winning submission.”

“We are thrilled that we were able to bring it home for Haas and Berkeley, we would definitely encourage others to participate in the spring competition,” says Holland. “We had a great time working together and learned a lot from the feedback we received.”

This fall’s Innovation Challenge featured more than 100 teams made up of 500 graduate level students from more than 50 of the top graduate universities in the US. The competition, conducted entirely online, challenged students to innovate in one of three categories: social innovation, business model innovation (presented by Jiffy Lube International, Inc.), and marketing & product development (presented by Samsung Electronics). The 3 finalists split a prize purse of $25,000 and select teams from throughout the semester long competition have since been invited to present their solutions directly to the sponsors’ executive committees.

This was Idea Crossing’s eighth Innovation Challenge and it was open to all U.S.-based MBA candidates. Teams ranged in size from two to five members and team leaders were encouraged to recruit fellow graduate students from cross-disciplinary programs. Over a three-month period the teams researched, brainstormed and refined new ways to approach the sponsors’ unique challenges.

Launched in 2002, the Innovation Challenge has become the premier business competition attracting Fortune 500 sponsors like American Express, Hilton Hotels, IBM and Harley-Davidson. “What the Innovation Challenge offers, that no one else can, is the opportunity to tap directly into the brightest minds of tomorrow, today. What we have created, and proved, is that through structured innovation competitions almost any business obstacle can be overcome. We not only offer solutions to challenging business questions, but the best and brightest untapped talent pool on the planet,” said Anil Rathi, Idea Crossing CEO.

The Innovation Challenge is currently preparing for its Spring 2011 competition, which will reintroduce international student participation. To learn more about the Innovation Challenge and how it can benefit you, please go to: http://www.innovationchallenge.com or contact Asher Spittler at asher(at)innovationchallenge(dot)com.

About Idea Crossing:

Idea Crossing was founded in 2002 along with the launch of the inaugural Innovation Challenge®. Leveraging expertise and lessons learned from running their own competitions, Idea Crossing set out to help others streamline the complexities of administering their challenge programs. Since 2002, more than 50 organizations have relied on Idea Crossing for their competition design and management needs. Today, Idea Crossing empowers producers of “skill-based” competitions with the tools and resources needed to run effective awards programs, incentive prizes and promotional challenges. Idea Crossing’s competition management solution called Skild® provides the back office software needed to design, produce, and operate truly intelligent competitions. Idea Crossing has been featured in publications such as CNN Money, INC Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal, in addition to white papers on incentive prizes published by MIT Innovation, Patricia Seybold Group and McKinsey & Company. For more information on Idea Crossing or Skild, please visit http://www.skild.com.

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