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Henkel Innovation Challenge: Two Students Imagine the Cosmetics of the Future

Publié le February 14, 2013, Mis à jour le June 24, 2014

Imagining a product that Henkel could develop in 2050 is the challenge of the student game competition entitled Henkel Innovation Challenge. Adeline Barras and Amélie Clément, two students on the Engineer-Manager track on offer at EM Strasbourg Business School, represented the school at the national final of the competition, which was held in Paris on 12th February 2013. For those two graduates from chemical engineering schools (ECPM and ENSCMu) who are currently studying for a post-graduate Master’s degree in Enterprise Administration Alsace Tech, tomorrow’s cosmetics will come in the form of smart patches that can be used for both beauty and health purposes.

What project did you submit at the Henkel Innovation Challenge?
Adeline: We developed the idea of a hybrid patch with a twofold action as a beauty and health care product. Our patch is innovative on three accounts: its design, its active principle as well as its distribution.
Amélie: As respect for the environment was one of the requirements of the competition, all the raw materials used are 100% biodegradable and bio-sourced (i.e. they are designed is such a way as not to impair energy performance or pose a threat to the environment or human health). Since the patch can be tailor-printed by means of 3D-holographic-recognition automatic machines, there is no excess packaging or product waste. The carbon footprint is thus limited by the fact that stocks are almost non-existent and freight transports are less frequent.

In what way is your product appealing as a cosmetic product?
Adeline: A median membrane within the patch allows to prevent allergies, skin dehydration as well as any fading of the make-up effect since the pigments are not dulled by skin secretions. This guarantees a perfect and lasting result.
Amélie: Our patch addresses two primary concerns of the cosmetic industry: hyper functionality and the quest for « all day long » perfection. The patch can be applied to the skin in three seconds and is thus ideally suited for those who can spare no time!

Why did you decide to take part in the competition?
Adeline: Young graduates may find it hard to identify what companies expect from them. Thanks to the coaching opportunities provided by Henkel as well as the close contacts with the group’s managers, the competition has allowed us to fine-tune our presentations and our way of approaching strategic issues. We were able to establish direct contacts with Human Resources staff and thus to consolidate our networks.

Why did you enroll on an Engineer-Manager programme?
Amélie: For us, industry has always prevailed over research. After completing placements in such varied companies as P&G or L’Oréal, we became aware of how important it is to acquire a dual competence in order to benefit from a higher visibility of a company’s cross-functional operations.
Adeline: Since we will have to lead teams of technical staff while working in close collaboration with the Marketing, Communication or Legal Departments, being cognizant of everybody’s requirements and assignments will allow us to ensure better coordination.

Henkel
Henkel is a German company that operates in three main areas: detergents and home-cleaning (27 %), beauty products (22 %) and adhesives (50 % of the turnover in 2011). Founded in 1876, Henkel currently holds a strong worldwide position with firms and consumers alike, encompassing such brands as Le Chat, Mir, Super Croix, Schwarzkopf, Diadermine, Pattex or Loctite. The group, which employs more than 47,000 staff, generated a turnover of 15.6 billion euros en 2011.
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