Next-Gen Competition: Contest at Case Western Sparks Design Ingenuity

Next-Gen Student Competition Profile: The Goodyear Innovation Challenge

Next-Gen Student Competition Profile: The Goodyear Innovation Challenge

The Goodyear Innovation Challenge is a design competition sponsored conducted in collaboration with the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). Image courtesy of Goodyear.


The Goodyear Innovation Challenge is a business design and innovation competition sponsored by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. in collaboration with the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Cleveland, OH. Students apply creativity while they address real-world business challenges.

The competition is open to current students over the age of 18 who are pursuing a master’s degree – regardless of discipline. Multiple teams from the same university may participate. Undergraduates with significant experience in lean startup, human-centered design, data science or graphic design will be considered.

The Goodyear Innovation Challenge began in 2016, as a combination of two forces. Staff member Meekashi Sharma wanted to create new valuation propositions for regional companies. She suggested that the school offer an innovation challenge. They used design-thinking as the foundational principle to guide the competition. Each year, Goodyear and CWRU collaborate to craft a design brief.

Youngjin Yoo is a professor of information systems with the department of design and innovation at the CWRU Weatherhead School of Management, who helps run the competition. We spoke to Professor Yoo to learn more about the competition.

Digital Engineering: Can you provide an overview of the competition, how it came to be and the intent of the program? Who will be participating or who has participated? How many participants have you had or are you expecting? Do you have any demographics on participants?

Professor Yoo: Based on the initial ideas, the Weatherhead School of Management and Goodyear select the top five teams and have them fly in. Those teams spend 48 hours at the Sears think[box], an on-campus center for innovation and entrepreneurship associated with the CWRU School of Engineering, to come up with their solution to address the problem.

Digital Engineering:  Can you tell us about some of the designs that are part of the event and how they came to be?

Professor Yoo: In the past, student teams generated a number of ideas. One of them is how Goodyear can offer personal fleet management service. As the sharing economy becomes a norm, there will be more small fleets of vehicles used to offer personalized mobility service. In the future, these cars will be autonomous.

Unlike large commercial fleets, these small fleets do not have the means to manage and serve their vehicles. Several teams in the past proposed a service platform to offer maintenance service for these fleets.

Students also proposed a “motion sickness solution” for autonomous vehicles. The team suggested that Goodyear build a motion sickness solution integrated in tires.

There was also an idea that would use blockchain to track micro-level information about the quality of each tire. This will enable companies to radically reduce the cost of recall, quality control and service.

DE: What inspired CWRU to get involved in the competition?

Professor Yoo: CWRU is surrounded by legacy companies who desperately need to innovate. It is our responsibility to connect them with young digital-native students who get excited about the future of these companies. Our future as a comprehensive university depends on the viability of these legacy companies. So it is important for us to continue to work with them.

DE: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about the event that the above questions haven’t given you the opportunity to express?

Professor Yoo: The program has produced tight collaboration relationships between CWRU and Goodyear. The collaboration involves not only the Weatherhead School, but also Sears think[box]. This shows what can be done when multiple units on campus collaborate with regional companies.

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Jim Romeo

Jim Romeo is a freelance writer based in Chesapeake, VA. Send e-mail about this article to [email protected].

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