We went to the hackathon with our idea (that is evolving all the time) but an open mind to develop it further and alter where needed. Unfortunately we did not manage to get any developers or tech experts to our team who would advise us on technical resources required for our app.
First things first - our app now has a (test) name - Topdrop. So hereinafter, we’ll call it Topdrop.
We started the hackathon with a lot of brainstorming on app functionality and what we’d like to see there. Coaches from Tieto came in during the early stages and gave us some feedback on how to bundle gamification, sustainability and mobile tech all together to create a great customer experience. There was a lot of talk in our team about gamifying indeed - for instance, users could get points for eating more sustainably which would make their drop heavier or for giving feedback on food to restaurants and later exchange points for some perks such as free lunch.
Another big thing we talked (and still talk about) is sustainability. Surely, water is a big thing but people tend to think of general sustainability indices, comprised of calculated CO2 emissions and energy use - that’s where we need to do more research. Calculating footprint is difficult and contextual but we think we can break it down to levels so that it’s easier for consumers to understand, too.
Throughout the hackathon we got a lot of various feedback from both Tieto and Fazer folks. Out of 10 teams we were the only team thinking sustainability. Whereas the hackathon’s main task was to come up with ways of receiving customer feedback in a more modern way (through mobile technology), our idea comprised it as part as we set our main aim as one to educate consumers on sustainable food. Nevertheless, we have won a special recognition prize from HealthSPA, Helsinki-based accelerator for health startups who liked our idea’s relation to the future.
Some key learnings from the hackathon relevant to our project:
- our selling point is searchable menu, not sustainability index of food - some people are aware of the environmental impact of the food industry but most of the students choose food by price, proximity and taste - and they find it especially useful to be able to access all menus through few taps on their phone making it single most important feature of the app
- social is important - a lot of feedback we got was about people wanting to share their good sustainable behaviour over media - this might and might not be true for different age and life styles categories, we think
- general sustainability and water scarcity awareness is still quite low - while doing a short validation round on campus, we bumped into bachelor folks who had absolutely no idea about sustainability and its relation to food, and water scarcity to say the least - but they would still use the app to make their lunch eating more convenient. Here is where we think if they would start choosing food through our app, they would not neglect its sustainability index - our app will actually expose them to thinking about sustainability.
Altogether, the hackathon was a great experience and a reality check much needed to get out of our mindset for some time to realise what people think about food and sustainability.
Soon we’ll publish the link to our first mock-up and you can tell us what you think!