A plan for Geocaching for Intercruises winner of the Challenge 2015

  • The UPF Barcelona School of Management Challenge promotes a real approach between business and university
  • The project captivates Intercruises that values implementing the proposal and have the support of students


In the mountains, in deserts, in cities, in Antarctica. Few corners of the world today escape geocaching; the game of hiding treasures and publishing the GPS coordinates for people to find them. The geocaching trend is growing, especially among young people, and therefore has not been overlooked by students at UPF Barcelona School of Management, who participated in this year's Challenge 2015.

The Challenger is a project of open innovation applied to learning where teams of students from different programs at UPF Barcelona School of Management and different nationalities work the same business challenge. Students who come from different countries, realities, surroundings and different disciplines, transform into a whole new source of fresh ideas that are almost pure and even disruptive to businesses. These ideas, using the tools and dynamics provided by lecturers, end up turning into proposals or business projects that the company will personally evaluate at the end of the project. The challenge this year was set by Intercruises: How can we generate income from independent travellers after they have left the ship? What can Intercruises offer to make your stay better and how can it profit from that?

Ten teams of students started working on the challenge. Three projects were the finalists and finally a judging panel composed of representatives from Intercruises and UPF Barcelona School of Management chose the winner. The judging panel opted for the team made up by Eric Sander, Fabien Durand, Mark Chepilev and Sophie Halls and their Intercruises Geo Cashing proposal. 'They have made an excellent presentation; it is a consistent idea, easy to implement because we already have agreements with many shops and tourist services in the city of Barcelona and, therefore, we valued the originality but also the feasibility of the proposal,' highlighted the Intercruises representatives.

Fresh, innovative ideas, an external view of the business, inspiration, entrepreneurship are some of the values the Challenge gives participating companies. ‘The role of the company is very important throughout the process because it isn’t just about proposing a challenge that students need to work on, but it’s a real contact between company and university in which they discuss and work together on real challenges,’ says Daniel Serra, dean of the UPF Barcelona School of Management.

So much so, that Intercruises is really considering the possibility of developing and implementing the proposal and have the students themselves on the project. 'We would like to offer internships to the University so that students who have worked on the challenge can be involved in the project. Now we have to work and develop it, but I sincerely believe they have done a good job and to see their actual implementation may be an important experience for their careers,’ said Olga Piqueras, Director General of Intercruises in Barcelona.

The winning project

The winning project, Intercruises Geo Cashing, proposes that the multinational use the principles of geocaching to provide an activity to travellers who arrive in Barcelona by boat. To do this, they must hide clues or rewards in areas of interest around the city that the traveller must find using GPS or an Intercruises mobile app. The game not only gives the participant a unique experience and a sense of independent exploration, but also discounts at restaurants, on services, hotels, souvenir shops and establishments that can partner Intercruises in this activity.

Thus, by geocaching, Intercruises can create an interesting database (traveller behaviour) as well as promoting its own offers or discounts and also benefits from partnering companies who wish to participate in the program. 'The truth is that at Intercruises we already have agreements with shops and services in Barcelona in order to offer discounts to travellers; it would mean moving this collaboration to GeoCaching,' said Olga Piqueras.

The runner up, Everywhere Data (Jens Nimmerfroh and Li Mei), proposed a new Intercruises service: the sale of local SIM cards and mobile data plans at competitive rates and additional services for travellers. Finally, in third place, Family Holiday Kit (Alexandra Mirella, Beatriz Rodrigues and Gozde Karabiyik), devised a complete kit with maps, vouchers, a Polaroid camera, metro tickets and an online information service geared towards families that have just arrived who want to visit the city on their own. 

Students had the opportunity to visit the premises of the Intercruises headquarters in Barcelona, located in the World Trade Center.

Mainstreaming and Internationality.

This reason the UPF Barcelona School of Management Challenge program is so original is because it does not apply business case studies which have been used in the majority of business schools and universities worldwide for a long time, but concentrates on the interrelation between the participating company and the multifaceted fields and backgrounds of the participating students: 120 students from 40 different countries, studying six different Masters of Science. ‘This is a transversal project comprising all of the Masters of Science, with the idea of trying a new type of collaboration based on shared learning, collective work and the relationship between different areas’, explains Daniel Sierra de La Figuera, dean at UPF Barcelona School of Management.

It means that a Finance student has to work together with one from International Business, Marketing, Business Analytics or Management. ‘This project favours the development of multifaceted abilities in students that probably would not have appeared if all of them came from the same field’, added Sierra. For two weeks, university, company and students work intensively by means of a virtual platform, where creativity and innovation sessions are exchanged, ideas shared, proposals and even business models are made. Winners receive a diploma and a small financial payment, but the experience and the ability to work and contact large businesses or companies is what really motivates them. Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat, CAF, CaixaBank and Mango are some of the companies that participated in this program.