The AACSB ‘Innovations That Inspire’ annual challenge motivates institutions from around the world to share their latest and greatest innovations in business education.
This year the focus was on Business School initiatives that are contributing to positive societal impact through:
- Cultivating a position at the intersection of academia and practice.
- Connecting with other disciplines.
- Driving innovation in higher education.
Grenoble Ecole de Management was rewarded in the 'Driving innovation in Higher Education' category for its 2020 Virtual Reality Back-to-School Challenge.
"Grenoble Ecole de Management has embraced the call to create positive societal impact and it is our privilege to recognize the GEM 2020 Back-to-School Virtual Reality Challenge among the 2021 Innovations That Inspire initiative," said Caryn L. Beck-Dudley, AACSB president and CEO."
The 2020 Virtual Reality Back-to-School Challenge developed by GEM included a host of innovations. An escape-room game to uncover the theme of the challenge "New Deals to think and impact the world"; 9 days of courses and virtual reality workshops to learn the controversy approach for new deal negotiations," on one of the six societal and environmental issues defined by GEM during the COVID crisis.
Students' proposals had to be new, useful, feasible, and to involve stakeholders of the Grenoble ecosystem. A virtual exhibition of 144 stands that took place at the end of this period allowed the students to share their results and to pitch their new-deal projects in front of a panel of professionals, school administrators with various backgrounds, and representatives from six major corporate partners of the school.
Several panel members were recognized experts on the given themes and designated as main "witnesses." They participated, presented, and interacted with the students regarding their own new-deal projects.
The design of the escape game and its virtualization were done in collaboration with the IRT Nanoelec. This project is part of IRT Nanoelec program that receives support from the French government under the Future Investments Program.
Among the key outcomes of this innovative project, are that our first-year students came together in the main auditorium of the new digital campus to interact and collaborate continuously with the GEM teams involved. The challenge sensitized students to responsible communication, owning their communication, and more.
Students discovered a profound interest in the subject and in the approach; they leveraged to prepare the presentation for the final exhibition. Moreover, the artistic avatar activity prompted them to explore creative techniques to manage their self-image, perception, authenticity, coherence collective identity and shared values in the digital world.
The team spirit among the professors that tutored the student groups in this new setting was equally inspiring. The research teams at GEM met with the students, to help them to develop their research and debates on the transformation of business and society.
To ensure the engagement of external stakeholders, the pitch-panels included professionals and representatives from major corporate partners that participated, presented, and interacted with the students on their own new-deal projects. GEM also involved a local organization to leverage its artistic expertise and enhance the learning experience. GEM foresees bundling all 144 projects into a white paper to share widely with all citizens of its local ecosystem.