WSU Paddl Games: De Lorenzo takes 3rd place

October 01, 2019
By Aaron O'Farrell

At the launch of Paddl Co.’s WSU Paddl Games series on July 10th in Sydney, hair care product manufacturer, De Lorenzo, finished in 3rd place. The challenge focus for the launch of this unique series of innovation challenges was set by our corporate partners for the day, EnergyAustralia, and was: “How can EnergyAustralia assist your business to achieve greater control over your energy usage both now and in the future?”

De Lorenzo’s dedicated innovation team, “Maybe They’re Born With It,” was introduced to the business a few days before challenge day via Slack (an online communications tool.) This allowed challengers to introduce themselves to the representatives from De Lorenzo and research the business. 

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‘Maybe They’re Born With It’ was comprised of Western Sydney University students and graduates from diverse academic disciplines. Acting as representatives for the De Lorenzo was Kamil Fajloun, Production and Maintenance Leader and Ian Middlemiss, Operations Manager. The team was completed by a Paddl Facilitator, two EnergyAustralia mentors and a Western Sydney University academic mentor. 

Every Paddl Co. innovation challenge reinforces design-thinking techniques and follows a schedule of three “Sprints.” These sprints are designed to help teams structure their process of creating a solution for a specific issue affecting their business participant:

Sprint 1: Problem Framing and Ideation

This sprint kicks off the day, with each of the teams warming up to each other through discussion and gaining greater understanding about the business and what they might be struggling with under the umbrella of the day’s theme. While a business might have many “problems” or issues they are interested in solving, having the team identify one issue that is relevant to the theme of the day as well as important to the business and one that is worth solving is critical before moving to the next step of creating a solution. In this sprint, the business has to be heavily involved and open to discussing their company with their brand new team.

As a business, De Lorenzo is a significant size; it operates a large warehouse. This means the business consumes a considerable amount of energy in many different ways. The task for ‘Maybe They’re Born With It’ throughout Sprint 1 was to identify specific areas of De Lorenzo’s energy usage the team could focus on. 

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After consulting Kamil and Ian, the team learned that De Lorenzo had already begun the process of improving their energy consumption through the use of solar panels. Therefore the team decided upon a Problem Statement of “How might we better help De Lorenzo continue their sustainability strategy by monitoring individual usage?”

Sprint 2: Concept Design and Development

The second sprint is also very relevant to the business and crucial to have them involved and in agreement with the team’s decision. After coming to an agreement on the Problem Statement, the team is now tasked with creating a solution that not only addresses the Problem Statement but that is feasible for the business to implement and something they would consider implementing. 

Sprint 2 is also a very important time for the team to utilise Challenge Labs. By speaking to industry experts at the Challenge Labs, the students can validate the ideas they formed during Sprint 1 and develop them further. However, during Sprint 2 teams need to be in constant dialogue with the business representative. There is no point in developing an idea that is not practical or possible for the business, so clear communication and validation is key.

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‘Maybe They’re Born With It’ were very productive during Sprint 2. The team maintained constant dialogue with Kamil and Ian from De Lorenzo, and visited the Challenge Labs four times to discuss EnergyAustralia’s smart technologies available to customers and analyse De Lorenzo’s energy bills to see if their solution would improve costs. The team also decided to split into two factions; one side analysed De Lorenzo’s current energy consumption practices, while the other developed the solution for future practises. 

‘Maybe They’re Born With It’s’ solution for De Lorenzo focused on smarter usage of its warehouse’s current technology as well as educating staff on better energy usage. If implemented it would see the company reduce its overhead costs by at least $150 dollars a month and $2,000 a year. Overall, that would mean a 10% decrease in costs, and De Lorenzo could use the money saved to finance other initiatives proposed by the team that in the long term could greatly reduce the company’s total energy costs.

Sprint 3: Storytelling and Tuning

Sprint 3 is about refinement. By now the work of identifying a key issue and creating the solution should be finished. The business representative takes a back seat during Sprint 3, and many leave their team to network with other business reps, corporate sponsor reps and government reps. The students continue to work hard on creating a concise presentation that will clearly inform the judging panel of how their business will benefit from the solution they have innovated.

Energy, clarity and a passionate display of intent to improve the business is always important for every team’s pitch. Every team spends has spent an entire day identifying a problem and creating a solution, so Sprint 3 is so important because this is the only time the judges will get to hear the solution. With only five minutes allocated to each team for their presentation, the pressure is on.

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‘Maybe They’re Born With It’s’ presentation made use of slick imagery, displaying clear statements and key statistics that the Challengers on stage elaborated on. Once the team had presented its solution the judges had some questions about the practicality of their solution for the business and whether the team had considered this. After the team had responded to the judges, Ian Middlesmiss of De Lorenzo asked to speak directly to the judges from where he was sitting in the audience. Ian elaborated on his team’s response and confirmed that the solution proposed by ‘Maybe They’re Born With It’ was definitely something De Lorenzo would like to implement. Ian told the judges that the opportunity to save at least 10% on their energy bills was very attractive to a business the size of De Lorenzo. The judges appeared very pleased to learn that De Lorenzo were so enthusiastic about the solution their dedicated innovation team had created.

‘Maybe They’re Born With It’ was awarded 3rd place for their solution by the judges. As a result, they won $500 dollars worth of energy credits for De Lorenzo. Each Challenger also took home a $100 dollar Red Balloon voucher.

Congratulations again to ‘Maybe They’re Born With It’ and De Lorenzo for their achievement!


Paddl Co. takes pride in the positive experiences everyone walks away with from Paddl Games. If you’re looking to build your Experience Profile and expand your professional network through Paddl Games and many other great volunteer, internship, casual or full time opportunities, get started with your profile on paddl.com today! If you are a small business interested in participating, please reach out to caitlin@paddl.co for further information.