Innovathon Fall 22′: Building a Human-Centered Future of Work

How do you envision the future of work?

Make your ideas count by joining the UZH Innovathon. A new course at UZH for Master and Doctoral students based on challenges tackled with industry partners.

Work across disciplines to drive people innovation in the future of work

Shape your future world of work

The world of work is changing rapidly: people and organizations need to keep up with an ever-increasing pace of digitalization and growing uncertainty.

This has led to the emergence of a myriad of human challenges for which solutions are yet to be found: from promoting well-being and avoiding emotional exhaustion and burnout, to equipping people with the skills they need to remain employable, to helping people develop and adopt technologies that support humans and enable them to do their best at work, to fostering greater diversity, equality, and inclusion, etc.

As a result, the opportunity for people innovation in the future of work is immense

Develop solutions to real life challenges

Learn hands on how to approach a real-life challenge with an interdisciplinary team. Innovathon challenges are linked to real issues faced by the challenge partners. Each challenge partner will:

  1. present how the challenges manifest in their work,
  2. provide necessary background information,
  3. answer any questions from the student teams during the Innovathon.

Solutions developed can be either tech-enabled (e.g. new software) or human-enabled (e.g. new processes, practices). The Innovathon offers a unique learning experience and the chance for participants to grow their network within a future-oriented topic. Students will learn from expert perspectives on the future of work and work with industry partners to address key human challenges in the future world of work. They will develop their innovation skills, critical-thinking competence and improve effective communication and presentation skills to a diverse audience.

Experts and mentors from the Center for Leadership in the Future of Work

This Innovathon is organized in partnership with the UZH Center for Leadership in the Future of Work, established in 2020 as a go-to place for leaders looking to tackle the people challenges inherent in the future of work. The Center incubates the Global HR Valley®, an innovation ecosystem purposely built to develop the solutions needed for a people-centric future of work.

This Innovathon is supported by the DSI Work community, a research community that studies how the digital transformation affects work. Researchers from the community will support students to dive into the interdisciplinary nature of the challenge topics and serves as mentors during the concept development.  Mentors come from a broad range of disciplines including data science, law, ethics, geography, medical and health sciences and economics.


From challenge to validated concept in 4 weeks

During four weeks students go from diving deep into fascinating digitalization challenges to presenting innovative solutions to an expert jury. To make the most out of the innovation process, students get access to detailed guidelines for each step and are guided by experienced innovation facilitators.

Input sessions, Oct 24th 1-5 pm & Oct 31st 1-3.45 pm  

During the Input sessions, researchers from the DSI Work community and across disciplines at UZH will support the students to deep dive into the various aspects of the digitalization of work and the human challenges these changes entail.

Challenge introduction, Nov 7th 1-5 pm

Get to know the challenges and get prepared for the Innovathon weekend.

Innovathon weekend, Nov 10th 4.15 -8 pm, Nov 11th 9am – 7 pm, Nov 12th 9 am – 2 pm

The Innovathon weekend makes up a centerpiece of the course. The goal is for the student teams to develop prototypes to test their concepts with relevant stakeholders. The full weekend is hosted in the Bluelion Coworking.

Solution refinement, Nov 21st 1-5 pm

Reflect on the input you got from testing your prototype and build this into your pitch. Improve your presentation to cover all aspects necessary for the final pitch event.

Final pitch event, Nov 28th 1-3.45 pm

Present your solution to a jury of researchers and challenge partner representatives. The final pitch is hosted in the DSI Event space SOC-E-010.

Wrapup & Next steps, Dec 5th 4-5pm + Apéro

Share insights and get an overview of next steps to pursue ideas and continue collaboration.

Course facts

Target group and ECTS credits

Master’s and doctoral students across all UZH faculties who are interested in the digitalization of work, motivated to develop ideas based on real life challenges and to improve their innovation and interdisciplinary teamwork skills.

The course is eligible for 3 ECTS credits. Students from ETH Zurich will get a certificate of participation. For more information on ECTS credits, please consult the UZH course catalogue. Not all study programs will cross-list this module. In such cases, students can contact their study administration office to clarify if they will receive ECTS for this course.

Pursue ideas after the Innovathon

Student teams are encouraged to continue working on their developed concepts after the Innovathon. Motivated teams will be supported to take the next steps to implemented their concepts in collaboration with the challenge partners or on their own.

An overview of available training and funding offers for entrepreneurial projects can be found on the UZH Innovation Hub Website.

How to sign up

The registration for this course is closed.