For the first stage of the whole InCube experience our Cubees visited Crans-Montana, an idyllic and innovative mountain village, situated in the canton of Valais. The Association des Communes Crans-Montana and the economic promotion provided an entrepreneur-friendly environment to learn the most important concepts, which will facilitate the creative process during the InCube Challenge. Two of the participants took some time to document their experience:
Hello! We are Noa Schwartz and Agnes Villanyi, two MIT students who just participated in Outcube 2019! It was honestly one of the best weekends of our lives, taking place in Crans Montana, a mesmerizingly beautiful resort in the Swiss Alps. From prototyping to pitching to partying, we did it all! It was really an unbelievable environment to bring together some of the most energizing and talented group of people we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. We had the chance to meet students who run their own companies, speak four languages, compete in Ironmans, design exoskeletons for paraplegic people, and are incredibly dedicated to solving some of the world’s toughest challenges.
We both study computer science at MIT, so for us, this weekend was an opportunity to reframe our problem-solving skills through the lens of the design process. The first workshop of the weekend outlined the concept of “design thinking” and went through the entire process from an abstract idea to a specific prototype. We were trying to solve the problem of improving the hiking experience in Crans-Montana. By the end of the hour, we had created four prototypes that proposed solutions, from drone-safety monitoring to an app to connect with other hikers! After the workshop, we enjoyed some Fondue as a group!
The next day began with a business modeling workshop. During this hour, we had a speaker come in and talk about his experience with founding startups. He walked through the process to establish a solid business model, including the lean canvas approach. The following workshop was prototyping, where we all got to pick solutions to a common problem and build models!
The evenings were an awesome opportunity to get to know the other cubees and members of EC, their stories, what brought them here, and why being part of the entrepreneurship community was important to them. We did some traditional swiss dancing at the music festival in the village, explored a few cool bars, and stayed up to see the sunset rise over the beautiful Swiss Alps. This was truly a unique place to push our creativity, build friendships, and bring the group closer together as we prepare to spend 4 days together in a 6×6 meter glass cube.
A huge thanks to everyone from EC for making everything this weekend run so smoothly, for caring so much about each of us, and for having a great sense of humor and energy while working super hard to make this weekend a once in a lifetime adventure.