Innovation Camp on personalized cancer medicine

Almost 350 students at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences was engaged in last weeks Innovation Camp where they were asked to come up with original ideas on how to communicate personalized cancer medicine.

Photo: Cicilie S. Andersen/Khrono


Last week Oslo Cancer Cluster, Young Entrepreneurship Oslo, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HIOA) and researchers from Institute for Cancer Research at Oslo University Hospital teamed up. The reason for teaming up was this year’s Innovation Camp at HIOA for no less than 350 students from the faculties of both health and engineering. In collaboration, we had decided to let the students solve the following task in only 24 hours:

“It is important to give correct and realistic information about what personalized cancer medicine is. Please develop a (physical) product that communicates the essence of what personalized cancer medicine is. Please define your target group, for example students, adults, elderly, health personnel or politicians.”

The students were divided into groups of 4-5 people randomly – and then had 24 hours to come up with an idea, make a business plan and pitch it in a semi-finale before a jury.


Challenging assignment

The students were taken a bit back about the assignment at first – thinking it was almost impossible to solve. How ever it turned out that they were much clever than they thought them selves.

Before the assignment was presented they had been given a lecture on innovation and creativity by Kim Østberg Larsen from Young Entrepreneurship Oslo and a lecture on the concept of personalized cancer medicine from Leonardo Meza-Zepeda – plus a lecture on how cancer patient are treated with drugs that are classified as personalized by clinician Åslaug Helleland.

As Meza-Zepeda pointed out – the concept of personalized cancer medicine is unknow even for most of health personell – so there is a great need for communicating what this is, what is the upside are and of course the limitations.


Interactive game with cartoon caracters
After a hectic semi-finale round with more than 60 groups pitching in three parallel sessions, 9 groups where selected to go to the grand finale. Common for the groups that were selected was originality and a good understanding of the assignment and a good idea to solve it.

The jury decided on the three differet winners of the awards “Best Pitch”, “Best Innovation” and “Overall winner”.

The “Overall winner” turned out to be the same as the winner of the “Audience Award” that all the participants voted on. This was group nr. 1. They suggested to develop an interactive game for children diagnosed with cancer, using known and loved cartoon characters – where the children could play doctors combating cancer. As the group pointed out in their presentation: this would empower the children whilst giving them both knowledge and comfort.

The winners get an “Innovation Lunch” with the cancer researchers at Oslo University Hospital, including a guided tour to their labs and also inside the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park that is being built now.


Please read more about the Innovation Camp here: