COSBOA Innovation Games (Victoria) 2018, supported by Australia Post marks another successful event!

November 26, 2018
By Kim Fernandes

After the outstanding outcomes of the first The COSBOA Innovation Games (Victoria) 2018, the Innovation Games continued on the 12th of September, this time held in Bendigo. Brought to you by Paddl Co., COSBOA (The Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia), and The Victorian State Government and supported by Australian Post, the Innovation Games seek to help businesses harness innovation while providing students and graduates with invaluable workplace experience.

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Working in teams and utilising design thinking principles, participants tackled real problems or opportunities the businesses were facing; coming up with innovative solutions all whilst meeting people from diverse educational and experiential backgrounds. In Day 2 of the Innovation Games, Australia Post challenged participants to investigate the possibility of growing your business domestically or overseas using digital tools” - a key issue for businesses to consider in a rapidly globalising and digitising world.

At Paddl Co. we were very thankful for the support of our 10 businesses participants from the Greater Bendigo Area. They included:

  • Cobram Chiropractic

  • Innovative Resources

  • Life Pharmacy Group - Bendigo Day & Night Pharmacy

  • Pauline’s Real Estate

  • Red Raven Studio

  • ACAPMA - Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association

  • APCO Service Stations

  • Beeps Auto Parts

  • Clive Enever, Business Strategist

  • Heathcote Community Children’s Services

  Diving in to the key pain points for small business and brainstorming solutions

Diving in to the key pain points for small business and brainstorming solutions

What do the Innovation Games involve?

The Innovation Games draw thousands of applicants in via Paddljobs.com. Students and graduates compete for a spot in the multi-disciplinary teams, which are then complemented by Australia Post employees, to give each business the most advantageous starting point to tackle innovative business ideas! Our teams included participants from vastly different backgrounds with a broad range of education and experience. Each team of 11 included:

  • 6-7 talented students/graduates from tertiary institutions across Victoria

  • 2 representatives from our participating small businesses

  • 1 Australia Post employee

  • 1 Paddl Games Alumni (a previous Paddl Games participant)

  • 1 Paddl Facilitator

Our student participants came from a range of disciplines and institutions across Victoria, which allowed for diversity in their skill sets. Overall, the day featured 10 Victorian educators:

  • Deakin University

  • RMIT

  • La Trobe University

  • University of Melbourne

  • Swinburne University of Technology

  • Victoria University

  • Charles Sturt University

  • Holmesglen

  • Monash University

  • General Assembly

Many familiar faces joined us from Day 1; participants loved their first Innovation Games so much they decided to extend their experience and sign up for another challenge! Paddl utilized design thinking skills to encourage the teams to think creatively about the business problems they were solving. The atmosphere was infectious and the whole venue was buzzing! The three Design Sprints kicked off - read more about the individual sprints here.

The Judging Panel

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The judging panel comprised representatives of Paddl Co., COSBOA and Australia Post. Each team presented their project solution to the judges following the final design sprint, impressing them with the variety of cutting-edge ideas the teams developed over just a few hours.

Awards were given for the top three innovative ideas, as well as an ‘honorable mention’ category as well. The judging criteria involved evaluating the solution’s level of creativity, the potential for it to be implemented, the effectiveness of the solution and the relevance to the theme for the day (digital transformation). After some challenging decision-making, the judges announced the most creative ideas!

The Winners

1st Place - Beak Performance

Business: Red Raven Studio

Red Raven Studio are a boutique hair salon located in the Greater Bendigo area.

Winning idea:Expanding business services and increasing customer satisfaction by designing and adding a network of ‘out-of-shop’ freelance service providers to an existing business module.

  Team members in order of appearance (from left to right):  Henry Nguyen (Deakin University), Aarohan Dew (Deakin University), Brian Yan (RMIT), Kate Petersen (Australia Post), Lauren McIlrath (Red Raven Studio), Teagan Giggins (La Trobe University), Lilly Taraborrelli (Deakin University), Nikheta Joyekurun (Deakin University), Harriet Aspinall (Facilitator).

Team members in order of appearance (from left to right): Henry Nguyen (Deakin University), Aarohan Dew (Deakin University), Brian Yan (RMIT), Kate Petersen (Australia Post), Lauren McIlrath (Red Raven Studio), Teagan Giggins (La Trobe University), Lilly Taraborrelli (Deakin University), Nikheta Joyekurun (Deakin University), Harriet Aspinall (Facilitator).

“The COSBOA Innovation Games in Bendigo hosted by Paddl Co. was an amazing experience that I would highly recommend anyone to participate in! Through this event, my team was able to help a local small business solve a dilemma they faced. The thing I enjoyed most about the event was working in a diverse team of students and disciplines. Everyone was friendly and super supportive of each other’s ideas. Additionally, being able to help a struggling small business was extremely fulfilling! It was definitely a day that I won’t forget.” - Lilly Taraborrelli, Bachelor of Information Systems, Deakin University

“The innovation games were fun to attend, our group worked really hard to understand the needs of our client, with a few bumps in the road along the way. Once the group was on the same page we went from strength to strength and worked together to deliver a good pitch and presentation! It was amazing to see how our client took on the feedback we gave her on her business for everyday things. She was so happy to work with us and learn just a little bit. I hope she can implement some of the things and she finds a way to grow her business in the near future.” - Teagan Giggins, Bachelor of Business (Event Management), La Trobe University

Second Place: Back in Business

Business Name: Cobram Chiropractic

Chiropractic Business in Cobram aimed at correcting nervous system dysfunctions, predominantly run remotely by business owners in Bendigo.

Winning idea: Accelerating and simplifying the medical diagnostics process with a gamified-patient-onboarding experience.

  Team members in order of appearance (from left to right):  Junaid Shaik (Deakin University), Andrea Nguyen (La Trobe University), Marielle Louise Cruz (University of Melbourne), Joanne Livingstone (Cobram Chiropractic), Emel Aksan Krabel (Paddl Games Alumni), Nishant Gupta (La Trobe University), Thomas Balzary (Australia Post)

Team members in order of appearance (from left to right): Junaid Shaik (Deakin University), Andrea Nguyen (La Trobe University), Marielle Louise Cruz (University of Melbourne), Joanne Livingstone (Cobram Chiropractic), Emel Aksan Krabel (Paddl Games Alumni), Nishant Gupta (La Trobe University), Thomas Balzary (Australia Post)

“The whole event was so well organised and it met my expectations! Our Australia Post employee was very supportive and the Paddl Alumni and facilitators helped us follow the design thinking process, improve our idea and presentation. Overall, our team performance was amazing and we learnt so many things from each other!” - Emel Aksan Karabel, Master of Business (Victoria University), Paddl Games Alumni

3rd Place: Petrol Heads

Business: ACAPMA (Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association)

ACAPMA is the peak national body representing the interests of the downstream petroleum industry.

Winning idea: Increasing membership count to ACAPMA by creating a digital platform providing easily accessible compliance requirements and analysis; potential to be sold across various industries in terms of ‘overall compliance regulation’.

  Team members in order of appearance:  Pavan Kumar Akuthota (Deakin University), Thuy Linh Nguyen (Melbourne University), Farah Saiful Hilmi (RMIT), Mark McKenzie (CEO of ACAPMA), Davira Rizky Chairunnisa (Melbourne University), Alon Beder (Deakin University), Rahul Devendrabhai Rathod (La Trobe University), Rodger Alister (Australia Post).

Team members in order of appearance: Pavan Kumar Akuthota (Deakin University), Thuy Linh Nguyen (Melbourne University), Farah Saiful Hilmi (RMIT), Mark McKenzie (CEO of ACAPMA), Davira Rizky Chairunnisa (Melbourne University), Alon Beder (Deakin University), Rahul Devendrabhai Rathod (La Trobe University), Rodger Alister (Australia Post).

“We had an amazing day! This was my first Paddl Games experience and I got a chance to work with ACAPMA, it felt like this was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to spend a whole day coming up with innovative solutions for a small business together with my team members and I enjoyed it greatly.” - Pavan Kumar Akuthota, Master of Data Analytics, Deakin University

Honourable Mention: Pushing the Envelope

Business: Innovative Resources

Innovative Resources are a highly respected publisher operating as a social enterprise.

Winning idea: Enhancing engagement of young people in the use of selected learning tools and resources with a dedicated app and the use of AI.

  Team members in order of appearance (from left to right): (top row)  Sue King-Smith (Innovative Resources), David Charlwood (Deakin University), Chris Cain (Innovative Resources), Prashasti Pradhan (Swinburne University of Technology), Richard Walsh (Australia Post), Georgena Stuckenschmidt (Innovative Resources); (bottom row) Hussain Ibrahim (Victoria University), Fayaz Beigh (Deakin University), Panhavuth Kret (Paddl Games Alumni).

Team members in order of appearance (from left to right): (top row) Sue King-Smith (Innovative Resources), David Charlwood (Deakin University), Chris Cain (Innovative Resources), Prashasti Pradhan (Swinburne University of Technology), Richard Walsh (Australia Post), Georgena Stuckenschmidt (Innovative Resources); (bottom row) Hussain Ibrahim (Victoria University), Fayaz Beigh (Deakin University), Panhavuth Kret (Paddl Games Alumni).

"I have been fortunate to participate on the second day of the COSBOA Innovation Games. With focus on helping businesses grow locally and internationally using digital technology, I was part of a team working together with our small business to solve the problems they faced. A great mix of skills, enthusiastic business owners, and a full support from Paddl team and our facilitator helped bring great ideas to life. The outcome of the day was a valuable experience for us. I hope that the idea we developed for our business will help people and remain relevant despite the change of technology.' - Panhavuth Kret, Advanced Diploma of Graphic Design (Holmesglen), Paddl Games Alumni

What did the business participants think of the day?

“What a treat the day turned out to be! I was there to discover digital solutions to challenges in my business! When we discovered the final idea my mind saw an explosion of suddenly how complex that beautiful, 'simple' solution was. It was fantastic to see how a group, previously unknown to each other, could work so cohesively. What an achievement!! We may as well have come first, judging by the smiles on our faces.” - Jo Livingstone, Cobram Chiropractic

 “I found it so interesting to work with capable students in looking at my business from a different perspective. I felt this was a great opportunity to see what it is like to negotiate within a team to work towards a common goal. I found the day to be enjoyable, and well worth me attending. It would be great to be involved again, or, recommend this to any business who is open to new ideas. I managed to meet quite a few new people who have some amazing potential, as well as staff from AUSPOST and Paddl Co. and all judging personal. I would highly recommend attending!” - Lauren McIlrath, Red Raven Studio

Want to get involved?

We’re incredibly excited to be bringing more Paddl Games events to Victoria in the next few months! Once again we’ll be looking for people from a wide range of disciplines to get involved, so make sure you update your Paddl profile today and you’ll be the first to know when applications open!