The Hackathon HES-SO Geneva took place on 22 and 23 March 2019 during the Open Innovation Festival called Open Geneva. Organized at HEPIA, the hackathon brought together over ten participants, including students and assistants from HEAD, HEPIA, and HEG.

The objective of the hackathon was to support the participants in their creative process with the help of innovation coaches and facilitators. Participants were able to discover innovation processes and methodologies, and practices, in interdisciplinary teams, how to use various tools to frame their ideas and projects. 

The format of the proposed event allowed participants to work on various projects and ideas:

  • A wind turbine project adapted to the alpine environment presented by an architecture student from HEPIA.
  • A memory game working with sounds providing an inclusive gaming experience between visually impaired/blind people presented by a HEAD student in Media Design.
  • Petit Favorite, a collection of clothing for the family, a project currently being supported by the AHEAD Design Incubator.
  • Deadline, an interactive game that humorously caricatures your professional life, also supported by the AHEAD Design Incubator

The highly interactive format stimulated exchanges, allowing everyone to test their ideas and receive feedback. On the other hand, the event was also an opportunity to create a real platform for interdisciplinary encounters between various disciplines taught in the schools of the HES-SO Genève. The hackathon began on Friday evening with a first exercise, the marshmallow challenge, designed to foster a collaboration among participants. The participants were then able to present their ideas, projects and needs in order to select the working topics for Saturday.

In the first part of the programme on Saturday, the various working groups worked on projects at a less developed stage in order to bring various hypotheses to be tested. After a description of the macroeconomic context, the teams were able to map the stakeholders in order to identify and specify the customer and user segments that their solutions targeted. Subsequently, the Value Proposition Canvas was used to frame the discussion in order to create a value proposition (or solution) that creates value for each segment of users or clients.

In the afternoon, Andrea Tassistro, an entrepreneur from Geneva and founder of Foodetective, a startup currently incubated at Station F in Paris, came to share his experience and entrepreneurial background before answering the many questions of the participants. In particular, there was a lot of discussion on issues related to financing, market validation and the need to adapt and develop an entrepreneurial project between the initial phase and its commercialization phase.

To conclude the day, the teams finally worked on the business models of the two projects currently supported by AHEAD Design Incubator, which will be replaced by -Pulse Incubator HES in September 2019. Project leaders, Valérie Pierrehumbert and Julie Parenthoux wanted to work on their business models and issues related to their distribution channels. This part of the workshop therefore allowed all participants to use the Busines Model Canvas, a tool describing the main blocks of a business model (i.e. how value is created, delivered and captured) while helping to solve real problems encountered by the two project leaders.