Last weekend I attended my first Hackathon or so-called the marathon of ideas, an innovative creative event where individuals from different backgrounds gather and collaborate on a specific project. The goal is to create a new usable business idea or suggest an approach which differentiates from the current business strategy a company is using. In this case, at the first Gorenje Group International Business Hackathon, the goal was to develop a digital solution for Slovenian company Gorenje and make consumers’ life simplified. We were assorted into the groups of 4 individuals, prepared a business plan and pitched our final idea with a new Digital Service solution for Gorenje in front of a panel of experts from Gorenje Group and Microsoft.
Before the Hackathon started we gained a lot of inspiration from business talks from industry professionals, as well as got more understanding of current trends in the industry. Variety of talks, trend reports and additional pop-up studios helped us to gather more insight of the company’s newest technology they are implementing into the appliances and are currently developing. This helped us to understand company’s business and digital strategy, which we incorporated when developing a business plan for our idea. Some of the main digital solutions we were eager to solve were making information services easier, developing better buying support services, such as e-shops, improve registration service by making consumers registration more personalized, upgrading living assistance services and improving data services for customers and appliances data.
Topics about robots taking our home and working instead of us lead us to the conversation if cooking will become more as our hobby and way of relaxing and socialising with our friends rather than annoying daily task as it is perceived today for the majority of the population. The hackathon emphasised the importance of technology within the household as in the future more or less all house appliances will become connected among themselves, whether through the apps, clouds or other ways and reduce people’s work in many areas. It could be seen that the user experience in terms of connection with the appliances will shape the future and companies’ success. Whether this will lead us to have more time for ourselves, gave us new workload with the virtual world or perhaps evoke a desire to perform more household task, as it will become rarer, will be seen in the future.
Brainstorming & developing our idea, photo: Staš Zidar for Gorenje
“Coming up with the winning idea is a challenge.”
Business talks and getting some insights of Gorenje Group Digital Strategy
Industry trend reports
Getting some inspiration from appliances from Gorenje Group
Virtual reality, artificial intelligence, what is following?
Teamwork, photo: Sašo Jakljevic, here
Visualising our idea, photo: Staš Zidar for Gorenje
After getting a bit closer look at Gorenje’s appliances and understanding company’s digital strategy it was time for our group to start hacking ideas. However, along the way, problems started to arise. Some of the main problems we faced were finding a balance between big corporation vs. start-up. Meaning, understanding the business strategy of Gorenje as a big corporation and us as a team as a small start-up. Our pace of working and idealisation of ideas was faster than the big corporation, it was also easier for us to pivot and was less risky and less costly to visualise ‘crazy’ innovations. With this in mind, this leads to the realisation that our creative ideas were not always suitable for a big corporation, especially as we did not have enough information what is viable in the real world industry and knowing what are consumers really willing to pay. This made me realise once again how an environment is important for successful development of an idea. If the market is not ready or consumers are not willing to pay for the certain product, service or additional feature it does not matter how good this idea seems in the eyes of the ‘owner’ of the idea. Through the hackathon, therefore, we faced problems such as having too many ideas and did not know which one is the’right’ one. We had too many different opinions, leading us to big numbers of assumptions. We were also lacking understanding of what is possible to be made in the huge company such as Gorenje, as we were in a way living in our bubble confident in our crazy ideas. These were some of the problems we faced along the way but managed to solve them with great communication, support of the mentors and especially be willing to be wrong and understand that majority of our opinions when suggesting ceratin idea were based on assumptions and our view of how something should be and not ‘real’ facts. Secondly, this also made me realise how little effort is necessary in order to gain new ideas from employees within big corporation if you offer them resources, free hands and certain ownership of the ideas. This hackathon could be seen as an example of how great bonded team can create and develop an idea with the applicable business plan within less than 48 hours if they have an environment that encourages and is willing to hear their views.
As we needed to develop a viable business plan for our product I thought to share how quickly this can be made if you understand the idea you want to execute. We started with customers and their problems throughout the day. More precisely, we started to discuss with my team what pain, needs, wish and desires current consumers are facing. Each of us had some story, such as having appliances in the household that were bought but were used very rarely, for instance oven, not knowing what ingredients a consumer has at home and forgetting to buy the food, a desire to combine two different appliances together, products having some features that are taking too much space in the house of consumers, etc. After the discussion, we brainstormed ideas, solutions and how consumers are solving such problems today. The first draft of the business model and value proposition canvas was following. After having a rough problem and understand consumers gains and desires we tested our assumption with the quick online survey. Fortunately, our online survey confirmed some of our assumption we had about our target group. These findings of the survey gave as an additional drive to research the market and finalise our business plan by adding revenue streams, cost numbers, as well as marketing channels. After that, we prepared the presentation and pitched our idea.
Business model. The most convenient way to use the business model is, in general, the following: 1. customer segment, 2. value proposition, 3. channels, 4. customer relationship, 5. revenue streams, 6. key resources, 7. key activities, 8. key partners and 9. cost structure, source: here
Finalising our business model and value proposition canvas
Last team picture before the pitch
My final 5 min business pitch of our idea in front of Gorenje Group and Microsoft international jury of experts
Making final memories
Last group picture of International Gorenje Business Hackathon, photo: here
If you are interested to hear my following journeys from creative business environment welcome to follow Styljanje’s Instagram & Twitter 🙂 See you there and enjoy your day!
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