The Ericsson Innovation Award is an annual competition that brings out the brightest and best STEM students to compete for a €25,000 prize, an Ericsson apprenticeship and the kudos of the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm. Each year the award tackles a different theme. The 2018 theme was “The future of truth”.
With students tasked to design technology solutions, we saw it as essential that the campaign made the notion of ’truth’ feel like an issue worthy of their attention. When we investigated it, we soon realised just how enormous the issue of information surety now is, and knew that with the right creative vehicle we had the breadth of storylines to make a captivating campaign.
The campaign idea was “The truth is hard to find” and to demonstrate this we crafted a series of statements each with a hidden statement within. Written in the first person, at first glance the messages are the kinds of things we hear every day – a boring missive from a bank or a bragging boast on social media. But look again, and the subtle highlighted words tell a much darker story of identity theft, cyber crime and chat room grooming. Our hypothesis was that if we could get students to care about the subject, they’d be more inclined to get involved and do something about it. We live in a purpose-driven world, so we are told, so could an execution designed to make you feel uncomfortable awaken the Gen-Z drive to do good?
In a word, ‘yes’. The campaign delivered the highest take up in the decade the awards have run. The quality of the submissions was significantly higher, and the final showdown unearthed some game-changing innovations that the students had taken off the paper and delivered into working prototypes. Ericsson had to turn people away from the awards ceremony as it had become such a hot ticket and viewership via the live online stream far exceeded expectations in its inaugural year of broadcast. Most importantly, buzz about the event has gone around the tech uni’s that are the breeding ground for future Ericsson talent, adding to the company’s arsenal in the war for talent.