Last Wednesday our office in Vaasa filled up with high school students from the Finnish-speaking Vaasan lyseon lukio and Swedish-speaking Vasa gymnasium. During the spring, the students have been involved in a bilingual innovation competition with Gambit CEO Tim Wallin as their coach and judge.

The competition started by assigning students to mixed-language groups that had to work together to come up with an innovation to pitch “Shark tank” style. Out of a dozen groups, Tim picked three winners that got to spend an afternoon at our office where they also got to tell the local press about their ideas.

Students from Vaasan lyseon lukio and Vasa gymnasium alongside developers Benjamin Burman, Henrik Westergård and Janna Tarkkinen.

The most promising idea came from students Niklas Bäck, Elin Olkkola, Monse Villarroel and Häzhin Habibi. They had developed a concept ”Eyeshop” for mixing online and real shopping by using Augmented reality technology.

The goal of the project was to spur innovation and creativity in a multi-lingual environment. A team from The University of Vaasa studied the competition as part of a larger research study and concluded that projects like these can be very useful for work life experience and that the use of language is very natural and adapts according to the situation.