Innovative ideas available to businesses at Thinkubator Challenge

Businesses of all sizes are being encouraged to submit their challenges to Thinkubator.

Students and researchers work in 'thinking hubs' to solve business challenges
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Students and researchers work in 'thinking hubs' to solve business challenges

Organisations looking for new and innovative ideas to support business growth are being invited to take part in this year’s Thinkubator Challenge at Nottingham Business School (NBS).

For a whole day on 15th November, NBS will dedicate its full resource to solving real challenges submitted by a variety of businesses.

The Thinkubator Challenge, now in its fifth year, sees a mixture of business management researchers, postgraduates and final year undergraduate students, split into ‘thinking hubs’ to focus on solving one challenge each.

The students are supported by expert academics and NBS Alumni Fellows.

Businesses present their challenge to a dedicated hub and students have three hours to research, analyse and evaluate the problem.

While the groups are working, businesses are invited to attend a series of masterclasses around this year’s theme of resilience and failure before returning to the hub for a summary presentation.

Thinkubator is the only event of its kind in Europe and since its launch in 2013, students have addressed nearly 200 challenges submitted by businesses from across the UK.

A total of 63% of challenges have been submitted by small and medium-sized enterprises, 27% by micro businesses and 10% by large organisations, from a variety of industry sectors including financial services, agriculture, construction and retail.

Businesses taking part in Thinkubator are encouraged to submit a range of problems, which historically have included advice needed on finance, marketing and HR.

Last year Bridge & Stitch, a project management company, came to Thinkubator to see how the business could increase its sales.

Rachael Hobbs, director of the Nottingham-based company, said as a result of the event, she updated and utilised the company’s social media platforms to maximise customer engagement.

“It’s always great to get view points from others who are outside of the business,” she said.

“Students are full of ideas and are often on trend with new developments. They are great at giving ideas which are outside of the box.”

Retail Assist, an IT solutions company also based in Nottingham, said by taking part in Thinkubator they got to hear first-hand from students what they really want from retailers.

Alex Broxson, head of marketing at Retail Assist, said: “The students provided the company with a fresh set of eyes on a well-worn question – ‘what’s the future of retail?’

“Their innovative perspectives and creativity generated ideas in line with current market activity, but with unique developments to improve customer engagement.”

Professor Baback Yazdani, Dean of Nottingham Business School at Nottingham Trent University, said: “Thinkubator is an initiative which not only has  proved to have very positive impact on the businesses that come to us for advice, but it also gives the highly sought after NBS students the chance to work on real-life situations and learn from the problems the business community is currently facing.

“Our students have the opportunity to delve into a business problem tailored to their interests, which is something we actively encourage as part of our personalised and experiential learning programme. Each student takes away key learnings which they will take forward in their degrees, and the businesses will take away fresh ideas and advice which can have a significant impact on their bottom line.”

NBS’ mission is to combine academic excellence with impact upon business and society. It is renowned as the business school for business engagement and impact.

NBS holds a Small Business Charter Award for the role it plays in helping to create and develop British enterprise through its links with, and support for, the small business community.

Businesses can submit their Thinkubator challenges via www.ntu.ac.uk/thinkubator until 31 October.

For further information please ThinkNBS@ntu.ac.uk or telephone 0115 848 8681.

  • Notes for editors

    Press enquiries please contact Catherine Hancock, Junior Press Officer, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8720, or via email; or Sarah Mcleod, Press and Public Affairs Manager, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8735, or via email.

    Nottingham Business School

    Nottingham Business School is internationally recognised as a business school which combines academic excellence with impact on business and society and is considered amongst the top 5% of the world’s business schools. NBS is also amongst the top 30 UK schools by ranking according to Guardian University League Tables 2018, and amongst the top 20 for both graduate level employability (DLHE) and for student satisfaction (NSS) and as part of NTU holds the TEF Gold award.

    It holds international AASCB and EPAS accreditation, and has held 4* overall QS Stars rating since 2013, with 5* in five categories for the quality of its curriculum, teaching, research, business connectivity and international links.  
    Its MSc in Management has been ranked by the Financial Times as the 93rd best Master in Management in the world (MiM).

    NBS courses are also accredited by all relevant chartered professional bodies.

    NBS is the leading business school in Europe for personalised and experiential learning. Each and every one of its 5,500 students has their learning experience increasingly tailored to their aspirations through the use of academic and industry mentors, analytics, and a comprehensive range of personal development and experiential learning opportunities.

    A leader in integrating experiential learning into the fabric of all courses at all levels, NBS’ pioneering in-company degrees benefit some 200 students through direct sponsorship by blue-chip companies.

Innovative ideas available to businesses at Thinkubator Challenge

Published on 14 September 2017
  • Subject area: Business, management and marketing
  • Category: Press office; Nottingham Business School

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