by Miikka Paakkinen
Last weekend I participated in the Dash 2018 design hackathon. During the event our team was challenged to design a new service business concept in less than 48 hours. The experience was wonderful, so I thought I’d share some key points on how to approach this type of a challenge.
Point #1 – Keep the Pitch in Mind
- To present a project, you’ll have to pitch it to your audience.
- Having in mind what’s needed for a good pitch helps you define the key questions you need to answer during the project.
- This helps you in choosing the way you work, the design tools you want to use, etc.
- You might want to follow a design thinking model if a free-flowing way of working doesn’t feel natural to your group.
- Here’s an example of a pitch structure that was suggested at Dash:
- Tag Line – The reason you exist for. Catch the interest of the judges.
- Problem – What is the problem you’re solving and who’s experiencing it?
- Solution – How are you solving the problem?
- Value – Why would someone give you money?
- Business Model – Who pays, how much, how often?
- Competitive Landscape – Map of competition + how are you different?
- Team – What’s your unfair advantage, why are you working on this problem?
- Traction – Why will it generate money, how much money per time unit?
- The Ask – What do you want from your audience?
- (Design Process) – This is specific to a design hackathon: you’ll need to be able to explain briefly how and why you got to your solution.
- Points 2-5 are especially useful to keep in mind during the process. If you’re not solving a real problem that people face at a price they’re willing to pay while also generating profit, your project does not have real-world potential.
- When it comes to the actual pitch, every second counts. If you’re lucky, you’ll have up to five minutes – use your time to deliver the essentials.
- More on pitching:
18 Pitching Essentials: How to Pitch an Idea to Investors (and Early Customers)
How to Create a Winning Investor Pitch-Deck
Demo day pitch: make your 5 minutes memorable (Video)
How to give the perfect pitch – with TedX speech coach David Beckett (longer video)
Point #2 – Have Something Tangible to Show
- It’s easier for your audience to understand your concept if you have something that in a very concrete way illustrates exactly how it works.
- This could be, for example:
- Raw version of an app or software
- Interactive demo
- Animation of how your solution works
- Any sort of rapid prototype
- This separates you from teams that have just a good concept or idea.
Point #3 – Enjoy the Ride
- Learn as much as you can from others.
- Be open to new ideas and ways of working.
- Don’t stress too much – you don’t have the time to achieve everything you want.
- And most importantly: have fun with your new friends!
A big thank you to Aaltoes, the Dash crew and the challenge partners – see you again next year!
The author Miikka Paakkinen is an MBA student in Service Innovation and Design with a background in business management and information technology.