COSBOA Innovation Games (Victoria) 2018, sponsored by AGL Energy

October 05, 2018
By Chris Girardi

Weeks of preparation led us to the first of 5 major Paddl Games challenge days that form the COSBOA Innovation Games (Victoria) 2018, sponsored by the Victorian Government, COSBOA and AGL and we couldn’t have been prouder of our Paddlrs!

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The COSBOA Innovation Games (Victoria) 2018 is a massive undertaking by Paddl Co., COSBOA (The Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia) and the Victorian State Government. It brings together tertiary students, graduates and businesses across Victoria, helping businesses harness innovation and learn new digital skills, while providing students and grads invaluable workplace experience.

The first of the 5 Innovation Games was sponsored by AGL Energy, and the day brought 60 Paddlrs from universities and TAFEs across Victoria, 12 employees from 10 participating businesses on the Mornington Peninsula, 20 employees from AGL and a very excited Paddl Crew to Hastings, near Western Port, Victoria on the 6th of September, 2018.

AGL set the challenge for the day and had the innovation teams consider “the efficient use of energy in small businesses” for their allocated business. Given the range of different businesses, it gave everyone plenty of scope to truly innovate.

An undertaking like this needs people with a wide set of skills and experience, so we brought together Paddlrs from a range of qualifications along with experienced and specialist employees from AGL (experts in data, renewables and innovation) and the 10 participating businesses in teams of 11. Assisted by our amazing Paddl Games facilitators, teams were made up of:

  • 6 students/grads

  • 2 business owners/employees

  • 2 AGL specialists

  • 1 Paddl Games Alumni - a Paddlr who participated in a previous Paddl Games challenge

We were blown away by our phenomenal student and graduate Paddlrs who embraced the challenge and got straight to work in their innovation teams. They came from 10 Victorian tertiary institutions - check out this breakdown of where everyone was from:

Breakdown of Paddlrs' Institutions

Hover over to see each institution

We were incredibly grateful to have employees from 7 of our participating business join us on the day, coming from:

  • Farrell’s Bookshop

  • Jetty Road Brewery

  • Viticultural Development Services

  • Ash Marton Realty

  • Atticus Health Medical Clinic

  • Biala Peninsula

  • Commonfolk Coffee

The day commences

The day kicked off with encouraging speeches from the CEO of Paddl Co., Dominique Fisher,  Peter Strong the CEO of COSBOA, Andrew Tulloch representing the Victorian Government, Councillor Simon Brook who welcomed us to the Mornington Peninsula

  Left to right: Dimity Paul - Senior Manager Government and Community Relations Victoria | AGL Energy, Cr Kate Roper - Deputy Major | Mornington Peninsula Shire, Dominique Fisher - CEO | Paddl Co.

Left to right: Dimity Paul - Senior Manager Government and Community Relations Victoria | AGL Energy, Cr Kate Roper - Deputy Major | Mornington Peninsula Shire, Dominique Fisher - CEO | Paddl Co.

A Paddl Games day is organised into three 1.5 hour blocks called “sprints”. The first sprint is designed to help the innovation teams start their brainstorming and formulate their main ‘problem statement’ with their participating business. Using design thinking techniques, each innovation team agreed on one main area of focus, which may be a problem or opportunity for their particular business.

  Our teams rifled through questions, answers and sticky notes as they brainstormed their problem statements

Our teams rifled through questions, answers and sticky notes as they brainstormed their problem statements

Sprint 2 considers as many possible solutions to the problem or opportunity identified in sprint 1, and ends with the team settling on their desired solution - this process is called ‘ideation.’ Possible solutions were considered in terms of which may be the most useful, cost effective, easy to implement and of course successful.  

During this sprint, Paddl Alumni, AGL mentors and Paddl Games facilitators were moving from table to table, offering support, challenging ideas and guiding the innovation teams to the best possible solution. As the pace quickened and the tension built, some innovation teams even decided to move their work space outside to ensure they were able to present an awesome idea to the judges later in the day.

 Our student and and graduate participants also participated in the employer booth during design sprint 2 - a two way dialogue helping our Paddlrs learn how they can take their career to new heights

Our student and and graduate participants also participated in the employer booth during design sprint 2 - a two way dialogue helping our Paddlrs learn how they can take their career to new heights

The 3rd, final and busiest sprint was dedicated to finalising how the innovation teams would tell the story of their problem or opportunity and proposed solution in their presentations to the Judging Panel - some even managed to build apps and websites!

 Our teams raced to finalise their solutions and presentations for judging by our panel

Our teams raced to finalise their solutions and presentations for judging by our panel

The results are in

Finally, the most anticipated part of the day arrived - pitch time! Each innovation team presented their ideas to a panel of judges and responded to their probing questions - they were competing for prizes after all. Everyone was blown away by the innovative, detailed and feasible solutions our teams developed in just 8 hours, with the presentations themselves also being of exceptional quality.

The Judging Panel

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The Winners

After being presented with such high quality concepts, the judges were presented with the difficult task of choosing the winning ideas. The winners were:

1st place - The Know It Ale’s

Business: Jetty Road Brewery

Winning idea: Determining energy consumption at different times by capturing data on temperature and energy usage, then optimising electricity usage timing by forecasting weather and venue bookings.

  Team members:  Shantelle Santos (RMIT) , Ankit Sobti (Deakin University), Laura Brown (Facilitator), Sai Kiran Rao (Deakin University), Milind Tayade (La Trobe University), Grant Rodgers (AGL), Rohit Aggarwal (Deakin University), Michael Pierce (AGL), Jonathan Pritchard (Jetty Road Brewery)

Team members: Shantelle Santos (RMIT) , Ankit Sobti (Deakin University), Laura Brown (Facilitator), Sai Kiran Rao (Deakin University), Milind Tayade (La Trobe University), Grant Rodgers (AGL), Rohit Aggarwal (Deakin University), Michael Pierce (AGL), Jonathan Pritchard (Jetty Road Brewery)

My experience can be summed up in one word as “awesome”. This is a great partnership between COSBOA, Victoria Government and Paddl Co. which provide the present-day solution to small businesses developed by fresh graduates. The whole process was so immersive that it didn’t feel like a one-day event, but more like a complete project. Extremely proud to be part of the winning team and was delighted to perform in the role of an Alumni.
— Milind Tayade, Master of Management, La Trobe University, 1st place team member

2nd place - Proper Tea

Business: Ash Marton Realty

Winning idea: The Green Home Alliance: Connecting property owners to solar companies through education, incentives and discounts. Offsetting carbon footprint by large scale solar panel installation cost reduction.

  Team members:  Nur E Hasin (RMIT), Wei Liak (AGL), Shinian Quian (Monash University), Ash Marton (Ash Marton Realty), Luke Shortal (AGL), Harry Pittock (University of Melbourne), Teagan Giggins (La Trobe University), James Daniel , Gabrian Balelang (Deakin University), Samuel Wang (Paddl Co.)

Team members: Nur E Hasin (RMIT), Wei Liak (AGL), Shinian Quian (Monash University), Ash Marton (Ash Marton Realty), Luke Shortal (AGL), Harry Pittock (University of Melbourne), Teagan Giggins (La Trobe University), James Daniel , Gabrian Balelang (Deakin University), Samuel Wang (Paddl Co.)

I have learned how to use design thinking techniques, cooperate with a client and together as a team to develop innovative and sustainable solutions to help a small business organisation. What I truly valued from the event is the opportunity to work with talented people from different backgrounds and to expand my worldview and connections.
— Linh Ha Nguyen, Bachelor of Commerce, University of Melbourne, 3rd place team member

3rd place - Grape Ideas

Business name: Viticultural Development Services

Winning idea: Seeking to lessen environmental impact and improve utilisation of energy by reducing fuel consumption using IoT and microbiome.

  Team members:  Linh Nguyen (University of Melbourne), Harrison Pace (Swinburne University), Tayla Lumatz (Deakin University), Matias Sellanes (Deakin University), Hallam Mitchell-Christians (Swinburne University), Stephen Callaghan (AGL), Nhi Huynh (RMIT), Nikheta Joyekurun (Deakin University)

Team members: Linh Nguyen (University of Melbourne), Harrison Pace (Swinburne University), Tayla Lumatz (Deakin University), Matias Sellanes (Deakin University), Hallam Mitchell-Christians (Swinburne University), Stephen Callaghan (AGL), Nhi Huynh (RMIT), Nikheta Joyekurun (Deakin University)

It was definitely an amazing experience and I must say that I was surprised by the instant coordination and teamwork displayed by the team. Working with a group of strangers from different backgrounds within a tight time limit is not something easy. But with the support of these bright little minds, we all made it possible! This experience made me look forward to the next games because I’m sure they will be as innovative and interesting as this event.
— Nikheta Joyekurun, Bachelor of Commerce, Deakin University, 3rd place team member

Honourable Mention - Better Read than Dead

Business Name: Farrells Bookshop

Winning idea: “With great power comes great responsibility”. Installation of energy saver devices which are already available in the market that would allow business to monitor and understand the energy consumption of the different appliances. A simple and cost-effective solution available to any small business.

It was fun and at the same time challenging. A good opportunity to get to know different people and solve problems with them.
— Nishant Gupta, Master of management, La Trobe University, Honorable Mention team member

Hear from our small business participants

My experience was filled with excitement, wonder and inspiration. Paddl, COSBOA, AGL and all selected students created an amazing energy to engage all 10 businesses to come up with innovation, ideas and solutions to relevant business hurdles we all face individually. I was humbled by the end result taking out first prize to this captivating day that certainly was the cherry on the cake not only for me but for the budding students that brought this on the day. Many thanks once again to all those involved, who organized, sponsored and helped make this a fabulous experience.
— Jonathan Pritchard, Business Owner, Jetty Road Brewery
What a creative way to tap into the creative minds of some of the country’s brightest young people. We were thrilled to be a part of such innovation and were taken back by the deep thinking and practical solutions developed by the team we were a part of. I would strongly encourage businesses to consider being apart of the Paddle Co games as it will certainly open your mind to a more modern way of thinking.
— Ash Marton, Business Owner, Ash Marton Realty

Want to get involved?

You’re in luck! We had a phenomenal time during Day 1 and 2, and applications are now open for Day 3 of the COSBOA Innovation Games (Victoria) 2018, sponsored by Canon! We’re after people from a wide range of disciplines to take part, and you can find out more and apply here - all you need to do is create your free Paddl profile to get started!