Fall ’23 UZH Innovathon: The Digitalization of Mobility

How do you envision the future of mobility?

Make your ideas count by joining the UZH Innovathon. An interdisciplinary course for Master and Doctoral students based on challenges from industry partners.

Work across disciplines for real digital mobility solutions

Learn for your future

The Innovathon is not just a special course, it’s an open innovation format. Learn hands on how to approach a real world challenge with an interdisciplinary team. In this course students can expect to learn about mobility needs and patterns as well as challenges of mobility systems, develop their innovation skills and critical-thinking competence and improve their skills for effective communication and presentation to a diverse audience.

The Innovathon offers a unique learning experience and the chance for participants to grow their network within a future-oriented topic.

Develop solutions to real world challenges

The digitalization is transforming various areas of mobility, from individual mobility via urban mobility to systems mobility. Thus, the future of mobility is expected to be connected, (partly) autonomous, post-fossil, and clean, with benefits for health, environmental sustainability, and the economy. It will include service platforms for seamless public transport, drones, and autonomous cars.

However, challenges and opportunities arise from the digitalization of mobility. In this Innovathon, interdisciplinary student teams will deploy their knowledge and develop innovative solutions (e.g., product or service concepts) related to those challenges and opportunities. Teams then present their ideas to an expert panel. 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 to understand the challenges of interdisciplinary teamwork and approaches to overcome them. They will experience co-creation with their teams and challenge partners.

With researchers from the Digital Society Initiative Mobility community

The Innovathon is organized in a collaboration between the UZH Innovation Hub and the Digital Society Initiative (DSI) Mobility community, a research community that studies different aspects of the transformation to a digital mobiliy. Researchers from the community support the students in diving into the interdisciplinary nature of the challenge topics during the interactive teaching sessions. Selected researchers will also serve as mentors during the concept development.  The mentors represent various disciplines including data science, law, ethics, geography, medical and health sciences and economics.

DSI Mobility community

Develop innovative ideas during the design sprint

In this intense course you will go from diving deep into fascinating digitalization challenges to presenting innovative solutions to a panel of researchers and practice partners. With your team you will develop ideas in a structured innovation format, the design sprint. This format has been designed to empower teams to tackle big problems and develop innovative ideas in a short time. Working together in a sprint, you can shortcut the endless-debate cycle and compress months of time into a single week.

To make the most out of the innovation process, students get access to a specially designed manual booklet. Experienced innovation facilitators are around during the whole design sprint to guide the teams in the different steps from discovery to prototyping, testing and presentation.

Experience innovation at the Ginetta and Google offices

An inspiring space can do wonders in supporting creative teamwork. We are grateful to have partnered with Ginetta and Google for Innovathon 2023, offering our team workspace with that little extra!

The student teams joining the Innovathon will be welcomed in a creative, open office space that optimally supports teamwork for structured innovation processes.

Programm and Application

Teaching sessions, Sept 14th 1 – 5 pm & Sept 15th 9 am – 5 pm

During the Teaching sessions, researchers from the DSI Mobility community will support the students to get a deep dive deep into the various aspects of the digitalization of mobility

Challenge introduction, Sept 19th 4.15 – 7 pm

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

Innovathon weekend Sept 21st 4.15 – 7 pm,  Sept 22nd 9 am – 7 pm, Sept  23rd  9 am – 2.45 pm

The Innovathon weekend makes up a centerpiece of the course, during which the student teams work in an inspiring atmosphere to develop prototypes to test their concepts with relevant stakeholders. The full weekend is hosted in the Ginetta office. Food and drink are provided (free of charge for all registered participants) throughout the weekend.

Solution refinement, Sept 26th 4.15 – 7 pm

Reflect on the input you got from testing your prototype and build this into your presentation. Improve your presentation to cover all aspects necessary for the final pitch event. The solution refinement is hosted at the Google offices in Zurich.

Final presentations, Oct 3rd 4.15 – 7 pm

Present your solution to a panel of researchers and challenge partner representatives.

Wrapup & Next steps, Oct 6th 4.15 – 7 pm

Review, give Feedback and share insights. Talk to the challenge partners, researchers and the other students teams about how your developed concept could be moved forward.

Individual project work, due Nov 3rd

At the end of the course, you will get a task for individual work. (This task is excluded in the shortened 3 ECTS version offered to PhD-Students.) 

Target group and ECTS credits

This course targets Master and doctoral students across all UZH faculties interested in the digitalization of mobility and motivated to develop ideas based on real world challenges. Applying students should have an aptitude for teamwork and be motivated to learn how to apply innovation methods and work successfully in interdisciplinary teams.

The course is eligible for 6 ECTS credits. Students from ETH Zurich will get a certificate of participation.

PhD Students have the possibility to do a shortened version of the course (without the individual project work at the end) and get 3 ECTS in agreement with their supervisors. For this option, please do not register via the UZH course catalogue, but apply via e-mail to digital@innovation.uzh.ch.

How to apply

You are able to apply for this course via the UZH module booking system.

– Master students and PhD students (6 ECTS): Apply via the UZH course catalogue. 

– PhD students (shortened version with 3 ECTS): Apply via e-mail to digital@innovation.uzh.ch, attach a one-page motivation letter written from a personal point of view. 

Please note that 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.

Contact us

Contact the course organizers to learn more about the Innovathon in 2023.

Partners of Innovathon 2023

Selected partners for digitalization challenges and innovation space


SBB is shaping the mobility of the future – easy, personalized, connected. SBB transports over 0.84 million passengers and 185,000 tonnes of freight to their destination every day.

FRZ Flughafenregion Zürich

FRZ Flughafenregion Zürich (FRZ), Economic Network & Location Development, is the leading network for companies and politics in the Zurich airport region. FRZ creates lasting added value through networking and location development in Switzerland’s most attractive economic region. The organization networks more than 800 companies from 100 cities and municipalities, providing over 250,000 jobs. Slogan: «We move, effect and network.»

Helbling Technik

Founded in 1963, Helbling Technik is offering its customers the essential success factors for successful and sustainable innovations: Decades of experience, the expertise of highly trained staff, and an unparalleled level of know-how and technological expertise. 

“Innovating a sustainable future.” – Under this guiding principle, Helbling Technik develops successful products and innovative software solutions together with its customers from a broad range of industries, including mobility, life science, MedTech and the manufacturing industry, as well as home-, office-, and catering appliances. 


Ginetta is a Digital Agency that helps winning brands grow their business by building fast, simple, and beautiful digital products. Since its founding in 2008, Ginetta’s team has become true experts in digital strategy, UX design and software engineering. The portfolio includes some of the most advanced web and mobile apps in Switzerland, including SBB, Twint, IKEA, PostFinance, ZKB and Doodle.


Google LLC is an American multinational technology company focusing on online advertising, search engine technology, cloud computing, computer software, quantum computing, e-commerce, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics. Its parent company Alphabet is considered one of the Big Five American information technology companies. Google has establised its Europe engineering hub in Zurich with several offices.