Case Study: Paddl Games Canon Hack Challenge
On 19-20 May, the Paddl Games Canon Hack Challenge was held at Canon Australia's headquarters in Sydney. 30 students and graduates from nine universities and TAFEs came together to deliver a solution to a business challenge in 48 hours. The winning pitch has been developed by Canon as a fully-fledged customer solution and delivered to market on 30 June 2017. Numerous roles were also created and offered to participating students and graduates including Canon’s commitment to an internship program.
What is Paddl Games?
Paddl Games is a Hack Challenge that engages students, graduates and employers in a competitive environment to identify market opportunities and/or solve real commercial problems.
Canon's Challenge Objectives
Paddl was engaged to deliver key business outcomes:
- Highlight Canon’s culture of innovation and reinvent a customer experience
- Develop a customer solution, build a prototype and deliver to market by June 30, 2017
- Provide key staff with meaningful leadership training and development experience
- Identify potential hires
The Solution: Paddl Games
The Paddl Games Hack Challenge was held at Canon Australia headquarters in Sydney over two days on 19-20 May involving 30 students and graduates, as well as 30 Canon employees. Key to its success was three weeks of marketing to students and graduates, shortlisting the right mix and calibre of applicants, creating teams consisting of individuals with diverse backgrounds and skill sets, and preparing them for the Hack Challenge. Event partner Edgelabs facilitated the Hack Challenge over the two days.
Finding and Selecting Student Talent
Participant Skill Sets
Key skill sets were defined to create teams with diverse backgrounds, qualifications and experience, and then mapped to disciplines identified below which formed the basis of the talent selection process:
- Information Technology
- Science & Engineering
- Graphic and Visual Design
- Marketing and Communications
- Business and Commerce
- Supply Chain and Logistics
Promoting the Opportunity
Three key channels were used to generate applications:
- Promotional posters were sent to relevant university and TAFE careers services and faculty staff
- A social media campaign ran for three weeks targeting universities and TAFEs in the East Coast
- Paddl’s existing database of students were engaged and invited to apply
Applicant Shortlisting on Paddljobs.com
All applications were processed through paddljobs.com to build a talent pool of relevant applicants and create a final shortlist:
1. Using Paddl's geo-demographic filters and tags, the Canon Hack Challenge was posted as an opportunity on Paddl and presented to Paddl Students and Graduates in relevant locations, educational institutions and courses. This created a pool of relevant applicants for the Hack Challenge.
2. Using Paddl's Challenge Questions, candidates completed a series of Yes/No questions as part of the application process. The Challenge Questions helped to identify top contenders and produce the final shortlist.
A total of 60 high quality applicants from universities and TAFEs across various disciplines and qualifications, from Masters to Diplomas and Certificates, were processed on Paddl. The outstanding calibre of applications prompted a decision to extend the invitation from 20 to 30 students.
The 30 successful applicants came from nine universities and TAFEs:
- Australian Catholic University
- Charles Sturt University
- Macquarie University
- TAFE NSW
- University of New South Wales
- University of Sydney
- University of Technology Sydney
- University of Western Sydney
- University of Wollongong
Disciplines and Qualifications
A mix of disciplines, qualifications and experience ensured that each student brought a unique perspective and skill set to the table. Educational backgrounds included:
- Bachelor of Applied Finance
- Bachelor of Applied Public Health
- Bachelor of Biomedical Science
- Bachelor of Business
- Bachelor of Computer Science
- Bachelor of Commerce (International)
- Bachelor of Commerce (Finance)
- Bachelor of Commerce (Professional Accounting)
- Bachelor of Creative Arts (Visual Arts & Design)
- Bachelor of Information Systems
- Bachelor of Information Technology
- Bachelor of Law
- Bachelor of Medical Science
- Diploma of Marketing & Communications
- Diploma of Software Development
- Master of Business Administration
- Master of Commerce
- Master of Information Technology
- Master of Management
- Master of Media Arts and Production
Five teams were created, each receiving support and mentorship from three Canon employees consisting of an Engineer and two representatives from various parts of the business including sales and marketing, field service, customer support and human resources.
Student Engagement and Hack Challenge Preparation
A dedicated Slack channel was set up for each team to enable knowledge sharing and initial brainstorming prior to the Hack Challenge. Additional channels provided for all team discussion and sharing of important information including briefs on the Canon business, and travel and accommodation recommendations for regional students.
The Paddl Games Slack channels proved to be highly effective:
- It became an informal place to discuss ideas, share resources and prepare for the Hack Challenge.
- It provided a central place for updates and important information including post Hack Challenge networking.
- Participants were able to form connections and were better prepared on the day.
Participant Brief and Webinar
Participants were provided a Hack Challenge Participant Brief which included all necessary information to participate successfully in a Hack Challenge. This was further supported by an interactive webinar presented by Edgelabs who introduced participants to Design Thinking and collaborative problem solving.
The Canon Hack Challenge
Led and facilitated by Edgelabs, the two days were designed so the teams could rapidly organise, problem solve, build a prototype and pitch their ideas and solutions.
To support the teams throughout the Hack Challenge, Edgelabs introduced the concept of "Labs". Four Labs opened at different points throughout the Canon Hack Challenge, each designed to guide, coach and provide feedback.
Finding a problem worth solving:
- Do you need help with design?
- How do you frame a problem?
- Is this problem worth solving?
- What is design thinking?
Storming, norming and then performing:
- Need help with building a team?
- How can we work more effectively?
- Not sure where to start?
- We are missing someone or something?
Moving from design to build:
- Do you need help with building?
- We are not sure what tool to use?
- How do we use these tools?
- Can you take a look at what we are building and help?
This is not theatre! Plan for launch:
- Do you need help with Go-to-Market?
- How do we launch this?
- It’s cool, but will it work?
- How do we sell or pitch this idea?
Day One Highlights
- The Design Lab provided a breakaway place for teams to get expert support and advice on how to define the problem and design their solution and approach. By mid-afternoon, the teams had largely defined their solutions and were ready to start building.
- To ensure teams worked well together, the Team Lab provided guidance on how to overcome problems and maximise each member's unique contribution to the team.
- The Build Lab gave expert advice on how to progress from the design phase to a working plan and a Minimum Viable Product.
- The first day ended in a networking event where participants were able to meet Canon Australia employees including managers and executives, educators and other key stakeholders.
Day Two Highlights
- The second day of the Hack Challenge focused the teams on building and refining a prototype with continued guidance from the Build Lab.
- The Pitch Lab coached the teams on go-to-market strategies and how to sell the idea to Canon and the panel of judges.
- Each team had 10 minutes to present their prototype and pitch to a panel of judges.
The Judging Criteria
- Does it solve a real problem?
- Is the problem worth solving?
- Will it be easy to use?
- Will it improve customer experience?
- How effectively has the team considered the problem?
- Does the solution reflect a diversity of approaches and contributions from all the team members?
- How did team members use the available resources?
How well does the solution align to the Hack Challenge including:
- Creating a better experience for the customer
- Powering the digitalisation of Canon
- Optimising the efficiency and effectiveness of our field service force
- Is there a demonstrable product outcome?
- Have the team been able to create a prototype?
- Is there a commercial model?
- Is there a viable back of a napkin go to market plan?
- Is the solution or approach original?
The winning team pitched a product which Canon developed into a fully-fledged customer solution and delivered to market on Friday, June 30, 2017. The Paddl Games Canon Hack Challenge delivered an innovative, workable, go-to-market prototype which will transform the way Canon supports its business customers.
The Impact on Business and Innovation Culture
The Hack Challenge represented a new and innovative approach to solving an important commercial problem. It demonstrated a new way to rapidly develop ideas, build a prototype and create a go-to-market strategy. A process which usually takes months at any large organisation was delivered in two days. This disruptive approach to product development highlighted the importance of the innovation culture at Canon.
Leadership and Mentoring Experience for Canon Staff
Key Canon staff who participated in the Hack Challenge had an opportunity to demonstrate their leadership, people management and organisational abilities.
New Hires and Talent Pool
Recruiting new hires was not part of Canon’s objective going into the Hack Challenge, however, Canon experienced a new way way of seeing talent in action and identifying future hires. As a result, numerous roles were created, including full-time and casual, and offered to participating students and graduates. The business has also committed to an ongoing internship program as part of its talent selection and development process.
Real-World Experience and Practical Application of Design Thinking
Students and graduates were mentored on Design Thinking, applied product development strategies to solve a real commercial problem, and worked alongside industry professionals.
Key impressions and connections were made with senior managers at Canon Australia, as well as with key influencers, industry professionals and potential employers.
Job Offers and Internship Program
Numerous roles were created and offered to participating students and graduates including Canon’s commitment to an internship program.
Don't miss out on the next Paddl Games!
Save the date: 4 September, 2017, Melbourne.
Get in quick for early access and exclusive updates on the Paddl Games Hack Challenge. Don't miss out! Register as a Paddl Student and get ready to apply when applications open on Wednesday, 12 July.
Find out more about Paddl Games.