First WU & TU Hackathon: A Story of Innovation, great People and Prizes

Through October and November, we had the opportunity to participate in the first Hackathon (a combination of the words “hack” and “marathon”, originally used in the software industry) organized by TU Vienna and WU Vienna together with Palfinger, the world market leader in hydraulic loading cranes as an industry partner, and the Wirtschaftsverlag. An interesting mix of people composed by three other competing student group and us, Michela Orlandi (MSc Marketing / WU & Bocconi) and Marco Fazio (CEMS / WU Vienna) together with two engineering students from TU Vienna made our experience challenging and enriching from day one. Explanation of real corporate problems through formulas and physics can be something quite far away from the usual Harvard Business Case, but once you get the tricks of the game, there is nothing more satisfying than merging market analysis with unthinkable innovations on mechanics and energy matters.

A whirlwind of Emotions: thrill, anxiety & joy

Emotions could be felt constantly thorough the competition. Late-night stress derived by visualization of complicated models to crack the case almost impossible to understand, exacerbated by a sense of desperation that comes before you have to talk in front of a platea made up of CEOs & innovators of the Austrian business landscape, escalating in a moment of complete bewilderment when hearing the announcement of your victory in a language that you do not entirely understand. Right there, when you believe that you have witnessed every sensation possible, you find yourself in a moment of pure joy, realizing the momentous victory.

Innovation at 360°

The developed innovation was based on three levels: Investment in customer relationship, fleet Management Services and Energy pricing on Swap Body. All the three points aim to drive the company ahead of the growing competition in the industry: for example, Palfinger could exploit the huge quantity of data generated by the users of machinery, which can be resold in the form of services, having a cost impact of ZERO euros! Moreover, we decided to propose a way to partner with the customer by giving the client a discount on the machinery and, in turn, getting a share of the profit of their projects. In the end, we thought to enrich the product portfolio with swap bodies, which could be rented by Palfinger with a new pricing model based on energy consumption rather than on time, as it is usually done today. Seems complicated? After researches, brainstorming and learning for your peers it gets easier!

Thanks to WU, TU, Palfinger, Wirtschaftsverlag’s people, and professors like Thomas Reutterer, WU is improving its portfolio of external activities with real companies and we hope that efforts will be made to repeat such a great initiative. If there’s at least one takeaway from the Hackathon, is that competitions are just amazing for your career, your memories and for the great people you meet.  And despite it was very challenging for all of us, stranger individuals with different backgrounds, all the difficulties and obstacles we encountered made us stronger and helped to understand that diversity is a source of knowledge.

If you want to know more, check out the WU & TU Hackathon Website or the Weltmarktführer Kongress 2016 conference after movie.

#innovation #Students #competition #Hackathon