Open Innovation for Rapid Product Development
An innovative tool for filing cryptocurrency tax returns.
Product Hunt, United States
So, you want game-changing innovations with the potential to radically improve your company/industry. Who are you gonna call? How about the crowd, a diverse group from all corners with vastly different backgrounds, experience and expertise but all with one common goal - to get you the solution you want.
Rapid Product Development
This was exactly the approach taken by Product Hunt, a website for users to share and discover new products. In November 2017 it organized the Product Hunt Global Hackathon which sought to bring together makers from around the world to design, build and ship out a working product during the month within which the event took place.
As the name suggests this open innovation initiative was a hackathon but it came with a little twist. Instead of participants meeting in person in one geographic space, they participated online from their own locations throughout the month of November.
The hackathon drew significant interest with more than 4,500 people from 124 different countries signing up to take part. They were given access to Ship, a toolkit to help makers build and ship products as well as exchange feedback.
Participants were judged according to three principal criteria:
• Whether the product solves a true problem.
• The uniqueness of the solution.
• The strength of execution.
Prizes were awarded in six categories such as augmented reality, AI/machine learning and social impact. There were also three overall hackathon winners.
In first place was Token Tax, an idea prompted by the surge of interest in blockchain technologies which has created a new generation of bitcoin, ethereum, and crypto-millionaires. Token Tax is a product that files cryptocurrency taxes into a single PDF which can be sent directly to the IRS.
Second place was awarded to two high school students for SweetBud. This is a coffee cup lid that makes any coffee taste sweet using electrical currents to stimulate the tongue. This is a boon for those who want sweet tasting coffee but don't want to use sugar or artificial sweeteners. The judging panel said it was impressed by the uniqueness of the solution and how much progress the students had made in just one month.
The third prize winner was Kenza, a plug and play application for data scientists and developers to quickly build, train, and deploy machine learning models at scale.
The three top winners all received varying amounts of AWS (Amazon Web Services) credits to help them pursue their innovations.
Open Innovation Benefits
The Product Hunt Global Hackathon was a neat demonstration of the power of open innovation to free up R&D roadblocks, going from ideas to working products in very speedy timeframes.
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