Canon Launches Digital Product Built by Students

July 28, 2017
By Robelen Bajar

On 19-20 May 2017, the Paddl Games Canon Hack Challenge was held at Canon Australia's headquarters in Sydney. 30 students and graduates from nine universities and two 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 Monday, 3 July, 2017. Numerous roles were also created and offered to participating students and graduates including Canon’s request for a proposal on an internship program.


Background

Pictured: Dominique Fisher, CEO, CareerLounge & Paddl; Adrian Yasin, Technical Lead, Canon Business Services

Pictured: Dominique Fisher, CEO, CareerLounge & Paddl; Adrian Yasin, Technical Lead, Canon Business Services

Canon is the world's leading imaging organisation that service the needs of consumers and businesses worldwide with an extensive range of products and services including cameras and printers. They identified a need to re-imagine customer experience for business customers. In particular, they wanted to improve the ability to service "Multifunctional Devices", ie printers used by most businesses and universities.

The Canon team believed adigital solution was needed to solve Canon's customer service challenge. Adding to the pressure of the addressing the challenge, was management’s insistence that any solution, product or service had to be delivered to market by 30the June, and; that it had to have the buy-in of Canon employees and executives.

 

Objectives

Canon's key objectives included the following: 

  • highlight Canon’s culture of innovation
  • 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

The Solution: Paddl Games Hack Challenge

Pictured from left to right: Dominique Fisher, CEO, CareerLounge & Paddl; Simon Spencer, CEO, Edgelabs; Gavin Gomes, Director, Canon Business Services; Glen Trestrail, Senior Manager, Services & Support, Canon Business Services.

Pictured from left to right: Dominique Fisher, CEO, CareerLounge & Paddl; Simon Spencer, CEO, Edgelabs; Gavin Gomes, Director, Canon Business Services; Glen Trestrail, Senior Manager, Services & Support, Canon Business Services.

Paddl Games Hack Challenges engage students, graduates and employers in a fun and competitive environment to identify market opportunities and/or solve real commercial problems. Inspired by the popularity of hackathons, Hack Challenges also present an innovative way for business to see talent in action, assess and identify future hires.

The Canon Hack Challenge was held at Canon Australia headquarters in Sydney over two days on 19-20 May, 2017. Five teams were formed from a pool of 30 shortlisted students and graduates and 30 Canon employees across the business including field service, sales and marketing, HR, legal, engineering and customer support.

 

Keys to achieving Canon's objectives were:

1. Engaging Paddl's extensive educator network and experience marketing to students and graduates to attract relevant, high quality applicants for the Canon Hack Challenge

Applications were generated through a marketing strategy which included social media campaigns, promotional posters distributed at target educators, and email campaigns and communications with existing registered Paddl users.

2. Creating a pool of emerging student and graduate talent on paddljobs.com

Students and graduates had to register and apply via paddljobs.com enabling Canon to build a talent pool of relevant applicants and select a final shortlist:

  • 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
  • specific filters were created as part of the Paddl application process including a series of Yes/No questions applicants were required to answer successfully to progress their application
  • top contenders were identified and selected

3. Creating Hack Challenge teams consisting of individuals from diverse backgrounds, education, qualification and experience

30 students and graduates were formed into five competing teams, ensuring that each member brought a unique perspective and skill set to the team.

Gender and cultural diversity, qualification and experience levels were also considered in the team mix, which consisted of domestic and international students from various cultural backgrounds.

The team members came from nine universities and two 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
Educational backgrounds and qualifications 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

4. Student engagement and preparation for the Hack Challenge

A dedicated Slack channel was set up for each team to share knowledge and information, brainstorm ideas, and get to know each other. Additional Slack 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, and post event networking.

The Paddl Games Slack channels proved to be highly effective in providing team members a central place to:

  • discuss ideas and share resources
  • announce updates and important information including post Hack Challenge networking.
  • form connections and prepare for the Hack Challenge

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 event partner Edgelabs who introduced participants to Design Thinking and collaborative problem-solving, which was invaluable for students who had not been previously exposed to these concepts.

5. Engaging Canon employees and utilising their business and market knowledge to inform ideas and solutions
Each team received support and mentorship from at least 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.

Each team was supported and mentored by three Canon employees from various parts of the business.

Each team was supported and mentored by three Canon employees from various parts of the business.

6. Expert facilitation by a specialist team experienced in Design Thinking and collaborative-problem solving

The two-day Hack Challenge was facilitated by Edgelabs - a consulting firm that helps startups or new product categories, attain product-market fit. Paddl engaged Edgelabs to design a Hack Challenge which helped students and graduates, who may have had little to no exposure to Hack Challenges or product development, learn and apply the concept of Design Thinking, and perform under pressure. Edgelabs created a framework so that the teams were able to rapidly organise, problem solve, build a prototype, and pitch their ideas and solutions in just 48 hours.
 

#TeamRebelliou5 brainstorms ideas and concepts.

#TeamRebelliou5 brainstorms ideas and concepts.

Guided by Canon staff, #TeamUnivators outlines a strategy and approach to the Hack Challenge.

Guided by Canon staff, #TeamUnivators outlines a strategy and approach to the Hack Challenge.

#TeamThrive gets insights about the Canon business to inform their approach.

#TeamThrive gets insights about the Canon business to inform their approach.

#TeamThrive pitches their ideas and solutions to a panel of judges, Canon employees, and other stakeholders.

#TeamThrive pitches their ideas and solutions to a panel of judges, Canon employees, and other stakeholders.

Meet the judges (from left to right): Canon executive; Glen Trestrail, Senior Manager, Services & Support, Canon Business Services; Simon Spencer, CEO, Edgelabs; Dominique Fisher, CEO, CareerLounge & Paddl.

Meet the judges (from left to right): Canon executive; Glen Trestrail, Senior Manager, Services & Support, Canon Business Services; Simon Spencer, CEO, Edgelabs; Dominique Fisher, CEO, CareerLounge & Paddl.


Results

 

Highlights

400 interested students and graduates within two weeks

60 shortlisted candidates

30 successful candidates

5 Hack Challenge teams

5 product prototypes in 48 hours

1 fully-developed product presented to customers in 6 weeks

roles and further opportunities offered to Hack Challenge participants

development of an internship program

 

Outcomes for Canon

The Product
The winning team pitched a product which Canon developed into a fully-fledged customer solution within six weeks of the Hack Challenge. It was launched to business customers on Monday, July 3, 2017. By the end of October, 2017, it is expected that the product will have 20,000 users.

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 leveraging fresh thinking of relevant students and graduatess and the experience and subject matter knowledge of employees. 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
Canon employees who participated in the Hack Challenge had an opportunity to demonstrate their leadership, people management and organisational abilities. It created development opportunities for employees outside of their normal roles, and delivered high employee engagement and Net Promoter Score (NPS).

New Hires and Talent Pool
Recruiting new hires was not part of Canon’s original objectives, however, Canon was exposed to a very different mix of talent to what they would normally have considered relevant talent. As a result, a number of roles were created in different parts of the business, including full-time and casual roles, and offered to some of the participating students and graduates. Cano has also committed to an ongoing internship program as part of its talent selection and development process.


We were delighted to have had such a diverse group to present to Canon Australia in less than four weeks. Some of the magic of Paddl Games Hack Challenges flow from combining students, graduates and employees in each team, so they all get the opportunity to learn from each other and use design thinking and cooperative decision making to surface new ideas.
— Dominique Fisher, CEO, CareerLounge and Paddl
The Paddl Games Canon Hack Challenge surpassed all of our expectations and highlighted the wealth of home grown innovation and talent that exists in Australia. It inspired all those who participated to think and act differently, proving that the seemingly improbable, is indeed possible. It’ s a credit to the students, the people at Canon and those that made it possible at Paddl and Edgelabs.
— Gavin Gomes, Director, Canon Business Services

Outcomes for Students

Real-World Experience and Practical Application of Design Thinking
Students and graduates were mentored in Design Thinking, collaborative decision-making and applied product development strategies to solve a real commercial problem.  Most importantly, they were able to put education theory into practice in a multi-disciplinary workplace setting, alongside Canon employees and industry leaders.
 
Meaningful Connections
All participants were extended direct contact with senior managers across the Canon Australia business, as well as other industry leaders and potential employers. Educators were also invited to visit and observe a session during the Hack Challenge. 

Job Offers and Internship Program
A number of roles were created and are being offered to participating students and graduates. Canon’s desire to create an internship program with a difference will provide even further opportunity for the Hack Challenge participants. They were challenged, stimulated and excited by the unique experience gained.


Omg, what just happened! Can we do it again? Thanks again for EdgeLabs, Canon and Paddl. I wish all students in the world have, at least once, the same experience we just had.
— Henrique Costa, Diploma of Software Development, TAFE NSW
I am interested in consulting as a career so when I applied for the Paddl Games Canon Hack Challenge, my goal was to improve my business knowledge and pitching skills. I actually got the opportunity to do both of those things plus more; what we worked on was a real business case compacted into an exciting, crazy and rewarding 48 hours, which is an opportunity I otherwise wouldn’t have had as a student! Winning was just a bonus!
— Emily Sisson, Bachelor of Medical Science, University of New South Wales
I was put in an environment where we were properly guided to succeed. Our ideas had the support to come to life because of the diverse group of people coming from different backgrounds and degrees... and Paddl made it very possible for students like me to have a simple and non bureaucratic process in being able to access these opportunities.
— Renz Jericho Hernandez, Bachelor of Commerce, Macquarie University
The Canon Hack Challenge was a fantastic opportunity to network with Canon employees and students. Within 48 hours, we were able to be mentored by industry experts and produce a prototype for a real business challenge.
— Rebecca Yan, Bachelor of Commerce / Bachelor of Laws, University of Sydney
Empowering! The Hack Challenge gives you an environment where you have the power to create a change in the way things are done by providing a real solution to a real problem. The feeling you get after this empowerment is unbelievably fulfilling.
— Giuliano Pessotto, Bachelor of Commerce / Bachelor of Laws, University of Wollongong

#TeamFlash delivered the winning pitch. Pictured from left to right: Emily Sisson, University of New South Wales; Orange Kao, Macquarie University; Miranda Clarke, University of Wollongong; Jiaru Han, Macquarie University; Mike Li, team coach and Canon senior engineer; Rebecca Yan, University of Sydney.

#TeamFlash delivered the winning pitch. Pictured from left to right: Emily Sisson, University of New South Wales; Orange Kao, Macquarie University; Miranda Clarke, University of Wollongong; Jiaru Han, Macquarie University; Mike Li, team coach and Canon senior engineer; Rebecca Yan, University of Sydney.

Pictured with the judges and winners #TeamFlash, students and graduates who stood out at the Canon Hack Challenge for their leadership, contribution and overall performance received a Certificate of Recognition.

Pictured with the judges and winners #TeamFlash, students and graduates who stood out at the Canon Hack Challenge for their leadership, contribution and overall performance received a Certificate of Recognition.


Don't miss out on the next Paddl Games!

Get in quick for early access and exclusive updates on the next Paddl Games Hack Challenges including:

  • The ABC - Sydney, December 2017 (date TBC)
  • Franchise Council of Australia - Coming soon
  • Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association - Coming soon
  • Canon - Coming soon
  • Restaurant & Catering Australia - Coming soon
  • Metro Trains - Wednesday, 6 September 2017, Melbourne.

Don't miss out! Register as a Paddl Student and get ready to apply when applications open. Find out more about Paddl Games.

Interested in Paddl Games for your organisation? Please contact Dominique Fisher on dominique@paddljobs.com or call 03 9514 3000.