From idea creation to sustainable business models: Europeana Labs workshop at THE ARTS+ Fair

On 19-21 October, an interactive and interdisciplinary workshop held during THE ARTS+ Fair – a side event of the Frankfurt Book Fair – brought together 19 design students from Italy, Poland, Germany and The Netherlands to explore how cultural heritage and technology can be combined in new business models. Five early-stage prototypes emerged as result from this creative marathon.

Design students during workshop at THE ARTS+ Fair. Europeana CC BY-SA.

On the first day, a co-creation workshop led by the Spanish consulting company Platoniq encouraged students to experiment with Europeana data using specially created Co-creation Made Agile methodology. The teams finished the day with a cut-throat elimination of the weakest prototype ideas, focussing instead on the development of the most robust five business proposals.

The second and third days were led by Media Deals, a pan-European investor network. To begin, students took their five business proposals into a business modeling workshop and were introduced the Lean Canvas methodology. This helped them turn their idea into viable business models. On the third day, a pitching skills training with presentations and instant feedback coached participants on the best way to show their projects to financiers.

The learning process ended with students pitching their ideas at an investor forum that was open to the public. Design students presented their projects to a jury of selected investors and business experts, and of course, to many interested passersby at THE ARTS+. The investor panel evaluated the ideas and provided them with constructive feedback to help them develop their ideas into a market ready proposition. The jury members were: Eugene Smyth (Allied Irish Banks Seed Capital Fund); Cathrin Frisemo (Nordic Female Business Angel Network); Xavier Huerre (Interim Executive, Business Consultant, Angel Investor); Dieter Staib (Education, BBA and MBA at ESADE Barcelona).

Five early-stage prototypes were presented:

  • The app LIX-IT! aims to tackle cultural differences in a playful way by engaging users to mix content from different countries.
  • Art out loud offers an audio interpretation of artworks in order to facilitate the access to the Europeana content for the visually impaired.
  • Fantasia helps fashion designers to create patterns from high-quality content made available through Europeana
  • Visualize aims to create a unique visual experience of cultural institutions’ content by providing daily art updates to subscribers of their websites.
  • Lastly, a group of students proposed a project that has cultural heritage as a social glue and would allow creative ways of sharing knowledge.

Among the five pitches, Fantasia - an app developed by Viktoriia Dubinina (School of Form, Poland), Tetiana Baran (School of Form, Poland) and Eugenia Ioppolo (IUAV, Italy) - was selected as the winning project. As a reward for their great work, the Fantasia team will attend next year’s edition of the Europeana Fashion Conference.

Fantasia team receiving feedback during THE ARTS+ Fair. Europeana CC BY-SA.

We’re pleased to see the exciting results of this workshop! If you would like to know more, take a look at our Flickr album or at our Storify covering our participation at THE ARTS+!