The Riga Technical University (RTU) Design Factory has concluded the autumn season of International innovation platform “Demola Latvia” with 17 innovative ideas. The University of Latvia and RTU award was presented to the “AM Furnitūra” team for the newly created prototype of a new type of sliding doors.

For the duration of three months, 17 student teams worked on innovative problem solutions for 16 Latvian companies. Overall, there were 84 participants from 10 highest education institutions in Latvia, including the University of Latvia. Each international team had to present an idea in five minutes to the “Demola Latvia” judges. All the teams demonstrated creative solutions of various problems, and the most successful ones were three teams – “AM Furnitūra”, “Riga International Airport”, and “Ergo”.

When defining their problem case to be solved, “AM Furniture” company indicated apparent lack of new product ideas, therefore students proposed and created a prototype of a  new type of sliding doors that enable easy access to closet content. Their idea was recognised as the most successful by the RTU Vice0Rector of Science Tālis Juhna and UL Vice-Rector of Exact Sciences, Life and Medical Sciences Valdis Segliņš, and the team also received the Latvian Business Angel Network’s (LatBAN) award – an invitation to a meeting with investors and commercialisation consultations.

The “Tech Chill” award, an invitation to the innovation and technology conference “Tech Chill”, was received by the International Airport Riga team, which provided a solution for visitors of Riga Airport assist them in navigating their way through the airport. Their idea is to create interactive information panels, where people could obtain a personalized map to find their way promptly and easily.

The Investment and Development Agency (LIAA) dedicated their award to the solution providing for feedback and evaluation of the clients regarding the insurance group’s “Ergo” services. The current solutions are very time consuming, therefore clients rarely use them, consequently, there is no absolute summary of clients’ satisfaction level regarding company services. The solution of “Demola Latvia” contestants received the award with their evaluation of the company’s competitors.

It is useful for bachelor’s programme students to establish working contacts with the companies, says V. Segliņš. ““Demola Latvia” is a good opportunity to participate, work together, and strive to achieve success. It is an experience of working in mixed groups, together with the companies, and finding the best solution in a short amount of time alongside their studies, which is a great accomplishment. We are among the good examples of “Demola”, which is also recognized by LIAA, our supporters that realise the potential of this endeavour.”

The UL Vice-Rector indicates the UL Business Incubator as an opportunity for students to prove themselves during their studies and use this chance to become entrepreneurs. The Head of the UL Business Incubator Mikus Losāns is also a facilitator of “Demola Latvia”, and his job is to guide the teams in the right direction.

Invitation to participate in spring season

The Project Coordinator Liene Rubina evaluates the autumn season: ““Demola Latvia” is a study process of self-development to the participants and companies, as well as the coordinators and lecturers. This project provides a chance to work together with people from different countries, develop teamwork skills, recognize the priorities and work methods, and encourages creativity. In four months’ time, the participants can develop competitive and suitable solutions, while overcoming different individual and group challenges, proving the importance of such interdisciplinary projects that encourage cooperation between universities and industry.”

“Demola Latvia” welcomes everyone aiming to test their skills and create solutions to companies’ problems in an international and interdisciplinary team to apply for the spring season until January 5, 2018 at the homepage, where the new problem cases proposed for creative solutions will be published soon.

According to the spring season 2018 plan, “Demola Latvia” will engage in communication between the teams and companies even more, in order to ensure a better feedback from the companies and a sooner access to the proposed problem cases.

“Demola” is globally known since 2008, when it was established in Tampere, Finland. “Demola Latvia” was established in 2014 as a cooperative platform for creative students willing to work, and companies and representatives of organizations requiring a concrete solution to a problem. In three to four months, “Demola Latvia” provides a work plan, methods, mentor support, and educational seminars to help the interdisciplinary student group reach the goal. If the ideas and final product is satisfactory, the students receive a reward specified in a previously signed agreement, and the partners have obtained new, creative solutions without a financial risk.