At MySwimPro, we pride ourselves on being an innovative company that creates products with global reach and impact.
A Hackathon is an opportunity to stimulate our creative problem-solving juices and put ideas into action. Since our founding, we’ve run this type of event every year. In 2015, our inaugural hackathon gave birth to what is now our award winning Apple Watch App. In our hackathon in 2016, we launched social share features from the prototypes we created.
This year, we elevated the stakes by creating a two-day hackathon with more structure and a panel of external judges. A cash prize, hackathon kickboard, and pride was on the line. On the final day, we would each have 5 minutes to pitch to our judges where we would be evaluated on the criteria below:
- Value Creation
- Design & Technical Demo
- Business Case
Before starting, we each created a Design Challenge Statement to focus our time. Modeled after the design thinking methodology to create the most innovative solutions to solve problems. Our judges (listed below) had a tough time deciding the winner, but ultimately Adam captured their hearts and won with the highest score.
- Seun Oyewole – Invest Detroit Ventures
- Lori McColl – Founder, Whim Detroit
- Henry Balanon – Chief Product Officer, Autobooks
Grand Prize: MySwimPro Fitbit App
Design Challenge Statement: How might we take advantage of the expanding waterproof wearable market to extend our reach to more fitness swimmers?
The wearable market is very attractive for us because we know that there has been a massive influx of waterproof wearable devices recently. Adam created a native Fitbit application that runs on the new Ionic smart watch. The app runs you through a workout set by set similar to our Apple Watch and Android Wear apps.
On the screen is real time heart rate along with relevant swim workout information. It’s pretty awesome that Adam was able to create a fully functional app and actually go swimming with it before the demo on day two.
MySwimPal – Beginner Swim Coach
Design Challenge Statement: How might we use MySwimPro’s existing technology and content to better serve a larger segment of the swimming population.
One of the biggest hurdles new swimmers face in swimming is how to get started. It’s not as easy as running where you literally can run out your front door. New swimmers often feel discouraged and confused when finding a plan that suits them.
Realizing this problem, I looked at ways to create a simple, easy to use beginner swimming application that could use our existing workout and video content. I think there is a massive market opportunity to help fitness swimmers achieve their goals, and I developed a prototype of “MySwimPal – Beginner Swim Coach” to help realize this vision.
Design Challenge Statement: How might we educate, inspire, and empower community members through on-demand real-time automated communication.
In any technology company, there are a number of redundant tasks and questions the team will face. It can be time consuming to address the same questions over and over. Ideally we make improvements in our software and user experience to eliminate these redundancies; however, there will always be a need for some level of customer support and education.
Ben created a chatbot that addresses some of these common questions that members of our community have. They range from product specific questions to advice on training and technique. This implementation also brings a unique human element into the application by allowing a swimmer to have a conversation with our app and get real-time feedback.
MySwimPro Beacon Technology
Design Challenge Statement: How might we grow MySwimPro’s premium user-base through location-based promotions?
Mike harnessed the power of beacons to prototype a model where swimmers can recive automated push notifications and promotions on their mobile device when they’re at specific pools or at events. It’s a very neat concept of implementing location-based technology for the sport of swimming.
In speaking with event managers and pool operators, there is an immediate benefit to the analytics and promotional concept for both MySwimPro and the location hosting the beacons.
We’re really excited and inspired by the projects that were created in a very short period of time. Hackathons allow us to be creative and test ideas in a time-pressured environment. Our goal is to implement as much of this two-day event’s learning’s as possible.
Whether the entire project is the starting point of a new business unit for the company or just part of it gets implemented, there is a lot of value that was created at our third annual hackathon and I’m looking forward to hosting our fourth in 2018! If you’re interested in learning more, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.