Innovation Week Hackathon

Introduction

As the appointed Lean Ambassador within News Corp I’m responsible for ensuring that teams feel supported on a day to day basis to adopt a lean approach to their projects and I help to arm them with the skills and tools to do this. As part of this role I have been involved with almost every hackathon that has been hosted by News Corp over the last 3 years, here is a snapshot of some of the innovation projects that I have worked on.

News Touch

As part of Innovation Week I was tasked with exploring ways to highlight the sheer plethora of news content that we publish on a daily basis in an engaging and tangible way. This was a great opportunity to rethink the classic news interface, utilise touch technologies and to create a live representation of stories being published across the network.

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After a story is published the story card appears on the table via the left or right and it’s landing position and angle is randomised. To ensure that there are a workable number of stories on the table at any one time, once the number reaches 50, the first that appeared fade from behind the stack.

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Clappa

The Clappa app was focused on a clear user problem situated within a cinema setting. Parents encounter numerous stressful situations in a cinema setting and have a number of obstacles to navigate prior to watching the movie – they have to collect tickets, snacks, wrangling multiple children, entertaining said children, organising toilet breaks and try to make the movie on time with just one pair of hands.

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It was necessary to look at the way-finding within the average cinema and to understand the steps that the visitor must go through from arrival, to picking up tickets, through to watching the movie.

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The idea was to utilise beacon technology to create a trivia-based game within the immediate vicinity that will keep the children content and potentially help win the user free snacks. From a commercial perspective the goal was to utilise the 20 minutes that the average parent has before the movie starts to encourage snack purchases as well as an engaging experience for the children.

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After the minimal viable product was built it was taken into the live environment of a cinema for user validation. A number of interviews were conducted guerilla-style to help assess its validity and to iterate on the functionality of the product. Also a walk-through of the user journey within the space was undertaken to test whether the flow was correct.

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Immersd

The brief of this hackathon was to find untapped opportunities across our network to create increased engagement. Our idea was to take advantage of the vast quantity of captivating and largely unused photographs we have access to as a large news organisation and create an immersive visual experience heralding the image and making the written word the secondary focus. As well as the editorial slant, there was a real opportunity her ad revenue. Immersd was born.

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The basic premise was to offer categories that reflect the trending subjects at any one time. It was important to keep the UI as limited as possible so that the imagery could really stand through and so a left/right swipe paradigm was used to like and dislike images.

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The focus of this project was more on achieving an actual working prototype that fed from real data sources and image banks, therefore the interface and experience was not somewhat undeveloped for this project. If I were to revisit this project I would focus on refining the thinking around the user creating their own collections of images and exploring in more depth the connection between word and image and the potential for rhetorik.

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After pitching to the business, judges and sponsors we were awarded prizes by Twitter for being their favourite product of the 3 days.

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Client

News Corp – 2014 to 2016

Hackathons

2014 – NewsFoundry54, NewsFoundry & VideoFoundry

2015 – DataFoundry & DevFoundry

2016 – NewsFoundry

Responsibilities

Lead UX Designer, Creative Direction, Prototype, Presentation, Lean Ambassador

Summary

News Corp at the core are driven by the need for constant innovation and do this by hosting regular hackthons, as well as having a number of prestigious innovation partners including: Innovation Week, Google, Twitter, Samsung, RealEstate.com, General Assembly, XI Academy and many more…