Monday, March 18, 2013

Grundfos First Days

Saturday, after a delayed flight out of Chicago on Friday, a short flight in a small plane out of Frankfurt, and arrival in snow and wind in Billund, Denmark, we arrived at the Poul Due Jensen Academy, here in Bjerringbro to compete in the Global Grundfos Challenge.  We arrived just before dinner-time on Saturday a few hours after the Chinese teams had already arrived.  They greeted our travel-worn and weary faces with large smiles and many greetings, which were probably not received the best due to our sleep-deprived state. However, after a shower and some food, we were ready for more time to socialize- a few of the US students even learned a game that the Chinese students taught us.  

Sunday, we began the day with a factory tour on the Grundfos headquarters.  Learning such an in-depth part of the country so quickly was incredibly interesting- especially to the Engineering students I believe.  We then were directed to a new groups- which combined students from all of the teams, Engineering, Business, US, China, and Denmark- into 3 teams of about a dozen students.  We were given the task to create a simplified hot-air balloon in 2 hours that could lift the weight in a full water-bottle.  Each team had a framework, but then was encouraged to expand or change the plan as needed.  My team, Team #1 actually became the eventual winning team- by expanding the framework and lifting 2 1/2 water bottles off the ground.  
Ours is the first balloon- not too pretty, but effective
Later in the day, we had culture "training" you could say.  By having a chance to more deeply look at the Chinese and Danish culture-- exploring assumptions and first-impressions from all of the teams from different countries was incredibly valuable and made us more self-aware of our own assumptions also.  

Today was our day to receive the challenge.  After a few inspiring messages from innovators, such as John Picard, Niels Due Jensen, the son of the founder of Grundfos, and Carsten Bjerg the CEO of Grundfos, we were given our challenge and given the rest of the day to complete it.  We are given all the resources we may need- from experts within the company, to certain resources outside the company to really develop a solution that the judges will also react positively to.  I think many of us are extremely excited about the challenge- and the final product is going to be absolutely fascinating!  

The trophies set out as inspiration for the week! 
I can't wait to share more about this week (hopefully I'll have time to write a little more before the end of the week about our experience at the Academy!!)  hint:  the food has been incredible!  

Also- if you want to check out more updates from the challenge, the Grundfos Graduate program is posting TONS of videos from throughout our days on their Facebook and Twitter sites (Grundfos Graduate Programme on Facebook-- and @GrundfosGrad on Twitter)  You can also follow me on either-- Anna Juenemann on Facebook or @_AnnaMJ on Twitter-- I'm retweeting and posting a mix of everything on the various social media outlets!  


  1. Anna:
    I am following this with a great deal of interest. I am very proud of you.
    Good luck in the competition!

  2. The academy food is certainly a highlight of Bjerringbro. Good luck in the competition!