WOW what a weekend!

As part of our work with Hunter DiGiT Growthwise were asked to help support & mentor in the PwC Open Innovation Weekend. Themed - Problems worth solving, PwC in conjunction with Innovate NSW Program had The Greater, NIB, Heal for Life and Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator put up problems they needed solved. Up for grabs were $15,000 grants for each of the 4 winners to develop a minimum viable product.

The weekend started out Friday night with the teams being briefed from the 4 businesses and continued all weekend. Some people came with pre-formed teams and others were paired on the night. Saturday kicked off with Trent from Slingshot teaching teams how to complete a Lean Canvas then Craig from Slingshot teaching how to pitch.

All of the teams had access to some brilliant mentors over the weekend as well as direct access to the customers they were trying to solve the problems for. Where else do you get that!

The teams came up with some brilliant ideas, pitched over and over, refined and finally settled on the solution. Sunday afternoon was final pitch time to a room of judges and the actual customers. The ideas ranged from gamifying the learning experience for kids around financial literacy, to reinventing the school tuck shop, simulating train flows using some cool visual tools to the NIB Health Wallet. The winners go on to develop solutions in conjunction with the customer. If successful at building out the solution, up for grabs is an additional $100,000 each from the Innovate NSW Program.

A huge thanks to the PwC Digital Team for bringing open innovation to Newcastle. What a wonderful opportunity for everyone in Newcastle to learn from the best, have access to exactly the problems some of our businesses need solving let alone the grants to get it done.

I can't wait for the next one!