‘Innovation Space’ wins Frankfurt Airport’s first innovation challenge

High-tech solutions to problems we didn’t even realize we faced tend to grab both headlines and funding as companies compete for market share in an increasingly online economy. But at Frankfurt Airport’s first innovation challenge event, the jury “reaffirmed that virtual space cannot fully replace real space.”

The winner, called “Innovation Space,” builds on the assumption that, at any given time, thousands of bright, creative passengers are milling about the terminal, mulling solutions to any number challenges. The unnamed contestant posited the question: Why not give theses people a room to posit these questions to other travelers and jointly find solutions? The jury agreed that it was an excellent question. “Personal dialog between individuals is still extremely important,” noted jury member Markus Garn, a former manager at the FBM Frankfurt Business Media publishing company.

The “Frankfurt Airport Innovation Challenge” ran between May 17 and June 28, 2016. During the competition, the airport’s operator, Fraport, sought ideas to make the passenger experience at Frankfurt Airport unique, with the motto “Make It Your Favorite Destination.”

That isn’t to say that the winning idea wasn’t up against some stiff (or virtual) competition. A wide range of ideas made it to the final round, from the use of augmented reality on Frankfurt Airport’s Visitors’ Terrace to baggage carts that follow passengers, using their Bluetooth sets for guidance.

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