The app that fixes what you need in your house and garden was developed in one week
(project was started spring 2019, and is ongoing)
Organizing of pre-hackathon
Concept development & market research
Program design and recruitment of experts
Test manager on site throughout test period
Continous business development
An organization with rich traditions steps out of its
core business to create the future
Bate Boligbyggelag was founded in 1946 and has a proud tradition in developing and managing properties for its members. In the city of Stavanger with 130.000 inhabitants, almost 60.000 are members of Bate. Bate has built almost 20% of the residences in the region and continues to grow, but in a world that is changing fast, they realize that this will affect how they work as well. What will the Boligbyggelag (housing associations) of tomorrow look like? With this question in mind, they embarked on a bold journey of reinventing themselves.
Spring of 2019 Bate engaged Acceler8. to support their initiatives in innovation. To be successful with innovation requires an open culture where people are encouraged to think outside the box and submit ideas, as well as innovation expertise and a toolbox of methods enabling you to move fast from ideas to prototyping and launching while continuously testing. In the end, innovation is all about people, and innovation initiatives need to be rooted in top-level management.
During the spring of 2019 Acceler8. worked closely with Bate's director for business strategy to plan a corporate hackathon for the management group. The idea was to introduce the management to methods from the startup world while also challenge themselves and search for new ideas and ways to grow outside of their core business area. Before the hackathon Acceler8 developed a gallery of Bate personas/families (reference people), did a marked scan of inspirational startups and initiatives globally, and developed mood boards for living concepts for seniors. The hackathon participants were challenged before the hackathon to come up with ideas of things they themselves or other Bate members would want help with in their homes, and a wide range of needs were identified - ranging from assembling Ikea furniture, to interior design, to spring fixing of their bikes, to renovation projects and much more. During the hackathon concepts for three ideas were developed, and closing discussions on best practices in corporate innovation revealed was a solid agreement that if one of the ideas was to be realized it should be done as a special project - and preferable as a new startup company - outside of the normal hierarchy of a larger organization that had the freedom to move fast. You can read more about the hackathon on our blog (Norwegian only).
Moving from basic concept to testable solution in one week with a customized Google Innovation Sprint
Bate decided to move forward with one of the ideas from the one-day hackathon - Fix It. The hackathon had identified the need for a service that made it easy for Bate members and non-members in the Stavanger region to get help from qualified professionals, and we knew we wanted to develop an app that made it easy for both the customers and providers to book and pay for the services provided. Besides a very basic concept, nothing else was decided.
Acceler8. has solid expertise in innovation projects and startup methods, and chose a Google Sprint as the process to develop an MVP (minimum viable product). Normally a Sprint is used for narrower tasks than building a new company from scratch, so the sprint was customized to enable this. Before the Sprint Acceler8 recruited experts (a sprint facilitator, programmers, designers, and entrepreneurs) and worked with the tech team to identify a good and flexible off-the-shelf platform that could be customized for the service we planned to develop. To develop a platform from scratch in a week would not be possible, but we knew we could have a testable platform ready for launch fast if we used half-finished products.
Most corporates (and startups for that matter) tend to start out a project by building a technology platform from scratch, but this is both time-consuming, costly, and risky as a market introduction is the only way to get real feedback and experience on whether your vision for a solution is correct. Launching something fast and continuously iterating and developing it to serve the market and need the best way possible is always the cheapest and best way to go. Or as LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman said:
"If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product,
you have launched too late"
Using an off-the-shelves platform enables you to test the market fast and cheap, and through that process you will learn what you need to develop when you embark on building a new platform from scratch - while building a brand, working with real customers and providers and making money at the same time.
With a Sprint team in place (two Bate employees, five experts and one helper) we rented a villa that was to serve as our home, office and test location for a full week, and six days after moving in the first version of the service Fiksa saw the day of light. It was an intense week full of engagement, conversations with customers, lack of sleep and lots of creativity, but the result was beyond what you can imagine is possible to accomplish in just a few days: A new company was founded, a brand and marketing profile designed, two MVP versions of apps developed, a homepage launched, a range of services to be tested put together, and partnership contracts negotiated. On day six of the Sprint Fiksa was tested with real customers and handymen, and after a few more weeks of technical development, legal work, and putting together a launch strategy Fiksa was launched in the Stavanger area on January 23rd 2020 when a four months test-period started. Acceler8 had a full-time test manager on-site during this period, and simultaneously worked on business development.
The test period gave us valuable insight in the market need. Our focus during the test was small projects (3-6 hours) while we learned that customers also wanted Fiksa to support them with larger and more complex renovation tasks. With this knowledge and learning, Fiksa is now embarking on a process to build a new platform from scratch that will provide an incredible user experience for both customers and service providers.
Access to experts in innovation and scaling is key when embarking on a journey like Fiksa
Acceler8.'s Silje Vallestad has served as the project manager and innovation expert for all projects for Bate Boligbyggelag. Our network and access to programmers, entrepreneurs, designers and other experts has been crucial to be able to work and deliver value as fast as has been done in this project.
Vallestad is a serial entrepreneur with long experience both in building companies and developing new digital services, and she is also honored as an Innovation Expert and Young Global Leader by World Economic Forum. She has served as an innovation expert and advisor for a number of established companies and governments over the past decade and understands how hard it can be to challenge the normal routines, think outside the box and explore new opportunities and take the risk in realizing and testing some of these. Acceler8. has the know-how and expertise to go from idea to reality fast, while reducing the risks and costs in the process.
For Bate, a corporate Hacjathon was chosen as the method to introduce startup processes to the management, and Google's Design Sprint (in a highly customized version) chosen to develop a prototype and new company. A Sprint is a perfect way to gather the bare information needed to decide whether an idea is worth the investment of more time and resources and eliminates slow bureaucratic processes in favor of confirming or disproving hypotheses about an idea fast.
Sprinting to success
After a one-week sprint and approximately 40 extra days of completing the apps and general business development, Fiksa was launched January 23rd 2020, and was well received in the market.
During the 4 month test period a range of services was offered to all residents in the Stavanger area; house cleaning, carpenters, electricians, car rental, party helpers, installing charging stations for electric cars, and much more. Over 1000 people in the small city started using the app, and even during the difficult Covid-19 outbreak Fiksa managed to grow brand awareness and land customers.
We can help you sprint too!
Acceler8.'s work with Bate illustrates how we work with building cultures of innovation and develop new products and services for established companies. If you are interested in learning more about this, feel free to call Silje Vallestad (+47 926 10 883) or e-mail.
"If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves"