Blakes Feast awarded top honour at Day 5 of the COSBOA Innovation Games sponsored by EnergyAustralia

May 27, 2019
By Caitlin Pereira

The COSBOA Innovation Games (Victoria) 2018/19 are a series of 5 one-day innovative challenges held in Victoria, executed by Paddl Co., in partnership with the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) and the Victorian Government. These hackathon-style challenges give a diverse set of emerging talent the opportunity to work with real Victorian businesses to develop solutions to actual challenges they face within their business. Day 5 of the COSBOA Innovation Games sponsored by EnergyAustralia, was the final day in the series and held at Lakeside Stadium in the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre complex on May 15th. 70 Challengers worked alongside 10 local businesses and almost 30 mentors from our host sponsor, EnergyAustralia.

Blakes Feast is Melbourne’s premier catering company with over 25 years’ experience catering the most posh events in Melbourne including the Melbourne Cup Carnival, Land Rover Polo in the City and weddings, corporate and private events in beautiful venues all over.
Each Paddl Games Challenge draws interest from far and wide, and Day 5 was no exception. Paddl promotes each event through a number of educational institutions across Victoria, it’s 14,000+ strong Paddl community and various other marketing channels. Candidates apply through and are competitively selected to form cross-disciplinary teams based on their level of experience, area of study and quality of application.


Meeting the ‘Fun Fabulous and Festive Foodies’!

Teams virtually meet prior to Game Day via ‘Slack’, an online communications tool. The Blakes Feast team hit it off right from the get-go, with warm introductions, sharing what they understood of the challenge so far, their preliminary research online and tips and tricks the Paddl Game Veterans have picked up along the way. In the weekend leading up to the event, each team is assigned their first task which sets the tone for Game Day - the ‘Team Name’ vote. This task is especially crucial as the team with the best and most ‘punny’ name wins a prize at the start of the event. The Blakes Feast team finally convened upon ‘The Fun, Fabulous & Festive Foodies’ as their moniker for the day.

Their team comprised of 15 members; two Blakes Feast representatives, General Manager, Kasey Thompson and Senior Event Manager, Sophie Crittenden, three EA mentors, Business Energy Consultant Lidia Tringali, Lifecycle Marketing Specialist, Rita Martinez and Journey Owner, Trish Yates, a Paddl Alumni and 8 Challengers from IT, Engineering, Business and Design backgrounds. They worked together with the support of a professional Paddl Facilitator as well.

Design Thinking: Dissecting the innovative process

All Paddl Games Challenges are based on three design thinking sprints or a sectioned out outline to help the teams navigate the innovation process. The first sprint in the design thinking process focuses on ‘Problem Framing and Ideation’, where the team explores how the business operates and how the challenge theme of the day directly impacts the business. In this case the Blakes Feast team was focused on how the caterer uses energy in their business and the impacts it has. It quickly became clear that running premium catering events for customers in beautiful, yet isolated areas around the state, becomes reliant on portable energy sources, however, the current available solution, petroleum powered generators, are often loud, unpleasant and break down a lot, causing issues for the team. They summed up the issue they were going to solve as ‘Blakes Feast need to source a reliable, portable and cost effective off-site energy solution, eliminating the dependency on generators.’

The second sprint of the day is, ‘Concept Design and Development’. This sprint focuses on building out a solution to the problem statement. The Blakes Feast team took their concepts to the ‘Challenge Labs’, where Subject Matter Experts from EnergyAustralia were able to validate efforts, give advice and provide further guidance on where their solutions could go. After multiple successful visits, and creating clear assumptions of the operating climate, the team formed their solution - to lease energy in the form of solar batteries, a subscription that EA could provide for their portable event needs. This answered several issues faced with generators by reducing noise, smell and being more reliable. The alternative energy option would allow the Blakes Feast catering team can focus more on the catering and experience.

Having this clear solution identified, the team began formulating how they were going to present this story on behalf of Blakes Feast. Sprint 3 is where ‘Storytelling and Fine Tuning’ occurs, so the team split up to work on their presentation and role play, whilst others began building a working prototype. Having been so cohesive online through Slack really allowed the team to embrace the fast-paced nature of the day!


The Results are in

As the first to present in the line up, the ‘Fun, Fabulous & Festive Foodies’ set the tone for all the presentations! It had everything - a role play, a story about the Blakes Feast needs and requirements, a clear journey from problem to solution and even a demonstration of how the application would work! Their hard work and concise presentation paid off in the end as the judges awarded Blakes Feast with the top honour - first place, $2500 in energy credits with EnergyAustralia for the business and FitBits for the participants! The Blakes Feast team’s solution met all of the judging criteria - cost-effective energy solution, effectiveness in market, potential for implementation and ability to scale.

The Feedback

“The highlight of my experience was being able to collaborate with diverse, brilliant minds to help solve a real world problem for a business, in a truly agile approach. The most magical part was to see how EACH member played role in their unique way to design a solution that was not only loved by the business but also won the FIRST prize.” - Haris Ashraf, Master of Engineering Science (Electrical and Electronic), Swinburne University of Technology

“It was a very productive day. I have developed communication skills and interpersonal skill. It was an amazing experience.” - Sadima Maharjan, Masters in Information Technology, La Trobe University

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