Meet the partner companies


Sam Levie Harrington, Senior Packaging Sustainability Manager in Environmental Product Innovation, will represent LEGO SYSTEM A/S in motivating and judging the CLIMATE/ENERGY challenge.   

We asked Sam to share a few insights about himself and innovation in general:   

 1. What is your background and what is your job at Lego?

I'm trained as a Product Designer & Mechanical Engineer, and I've always had a focus on environmental responsibility. Today, I'm leading efforts to make LEGO packaging more sustainable. We're working to make changes so that all LEGO Packaging will all be renewable and recyclable. It's exciting because even small changes get multiplied across five factories and millions of products, amounting to big environmental impact improvements. It is an awesome job. Prior to this, I spent 8 years growing a bio-materials start-up company called Ecovative in Green Island, New York. We invented a fungi-based alternative to plastic foam which is now used for packaging, furniture components, and more.

2. Why do you think it is important for students to participate in case competitions like Dean's Challenge?

It was contests similar to Dean’s Challenge that funded Ecovative in the early days. So I believe the Dean's Challenge can absolutely be a launching pad and can lead to the creation of world changing ideas. Participating in these competitions is a great way to evolve an idea, meet collaborators, and perhaps even attract VC funding. Don't waste your talents, energy and brilliant ideas on frivolous things; there are big problems in the world that need solving!

3. Do you have any advice for the participants?

I have three!

1) Make sure you deeply understand the problem you are aiming to solve. A lot of projects start with a solution, and then try to match it to a problem; it usually works better the other way around.

2) If at all possible, make your idea come to life and build a prototype. Even something hacked together with duct tape can speak volumes.

3) Know your audience and tailor your presentation appropriately. Although your idea may have very technical details behind it, it's important to find ways to explain the essence of it in a way that your audience can understand and empathize with. 


To motivate and judge the Health Technology challenge we are happy to have OTICON on board, who will be represented by Thor Højlund Olsen, Discovery Lead. 

Oticon is one of the largest companies in the hearing healthcare industry worldwide. In Denmark alone more than 1,300 employees develop some of the most innovative and technically advanced hearing aids in the world.

We asked Thor to share a few insights about himself and innovation in general:

1. What is your background?

I have a civil engineering degree in Design & Innovation from DTU. Since December 2009 I have been working at Oticon A/S as a mechanical developer and in May 2013 I started in the Discovery team. In June 2015 I became a project leader in this same Discovery team.

2. What is your job at Oticon A/S?

As mentioned, I am a project leader in the Discovery team at Oticon A/S. Our primary task in this team, is to explore new ideas for future technologies that can be implemented in the hearing aids of the future. We are leading multidisciplinary development teams, test different concepts of technology together with customers, and help push through innovation projects to the rest of Oticon organization.

3. Why do you think it is important for students to participate in case competitions like Dean's Challenge?

Two reasons: First, this is a unique possibility to influence the future of health technology solutions as we are taking challenges like this very serious and will consider any interesting proposal as a future feature and/or product. Second, this is great opportunity to learn something new and test your knowledge with and learn from people working in the industry.

4) Do you have any advice for the participants?

Do not be scared to challenge the status quo. At Oticon A/S we constantly challenge ourselves and try to redefine the great hearing solution to the benefit of our users. Also do not be scared to reach out to potential users to build the perfect fit between the most recent technology, which also solves a real and relevant problem the user experiences.


Read more about OTICON: 


In the FOOD challenge we are proud to collaborate with the Aarhus based startup ENORM having founder Lasse Hinrichsen himself represent the company.

Insects are the protein source of the future. They have to be a part of our food, because they are environmentally and climate friendly, healthy and taste great. ENORM is making edible insects accesable, affordable and last but not least edible.

We asked Lasse to share a few insights about himself and the innovation process: 

1. What is your background (Educational)

Bachelor in Social Science Business Economy from Aarhus University

2. What is your job

Founder and CEO at ENORM

3. Why do you think it is important for students to participate in case competitions like Dean's Challenge?

Case competitions are a good way to challenge your theoretical knowledge on "real life" problems. It is a good opportunity to meet other students with different backgrounds and other perspectives of the challenges the world is facing.

Furthermore it will inspire you and give you new input to your own studies and to your choices regarding your professional career. I heard about edible insects for the first time at a case competition organized by FOSIA (Forum For Social Innovation) at Aarhus University while I was studying. 

4. Do you have any advice for the participants?


Take part and challenge yourself. It´s a opportunity to have learn and meet new interesting people while having fun. 

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