it consulting and mentoring

next big thing or just a crazy idea?

Detailed analysis of the service:
hackathon through the prism of 9 blocks of Business Model Canvas
it consulting and mentoring

next big thing or just a crazy idea?

Detailed analysis of the service:
hackathon through the prism of 9 blocks of Business Model Canvas
This practical article presents a detailed analysis of our new project HaaS (Hackathon-as-a-Service) through the prism of a business model canvas.

In this article you:
- find a new very effective way to solve non-standard challenges;
- see how all developer community can help to get you a solution without a big budget.

Attentive PM
Clever programmer
Design Thinking Mentor
"Hacker" client's problems
A little prehistory
In the previous post was discussed motivation and benefits for companies to organize hackathon to solve actual challenges. The post was related to organizing hackathon especially to solve the company's needs — enterprise hack.

Getting deeper into details, I wondered about the hackathon number and topics in Norway. And I was really disappointed. I didn't expect to find a hackathon event in every region, but hopefully want to find some, for example, in Oslo. Take a look on your own.
To be honest, my expectation wasn't met. Just a brief look shows a very small number of hackathon events during all the year. I think the same number whole Norway have is holding in Minsk during this spring with a wider range of topics.

I found myself missing the hackathon spirit here.
I found myself missing the hackathon spirit here.
I found more interest in local companies to use existing capacities to emerge new market, find more competitive advantage or even completely change their business model.
I thought about the number of local developers can participate and found it's not so easy to organize an event and get the number of developers needed. And after I think can there be another way to solve this? Can the internet help?

And I ended up (even for now) that building a platform to attract participants from all over the world to solve real business challenges.
So I went a bit forward: to build Hackathon-as-a-Service (HaaS) online solution for any enterprise not just simply to post their challenges and believe someone can help them without close collaboration but to organize special virtual hackathon and work as close as possible with all main stakeholders.

I believe this is the only possible way to find feasible and optimal solution for the company, give them additional point of view and help with alternative solutions can't be found before.

Now going straight to details

0. Problem definition

Before starting any project or do smth the main objectives and performance indicators should be defined to understand if we going in the right direction and how well we perform. And, definitely, the problem should exist: develop a solution without a problem sounds not so rational, isn't it?

The problem to solve can be described as:
lack of curious developers, engineers and other IT specialists in the company's or local authorities area
Well-described problem is a part of the solution, so I believe this definition will be improved when the project will leave my mind and go the motivated team. But now I am trying to keep in mind this one within this post.

1. The idea

After discussion with several companies, I saw that they are interested in such an instrument of solving problems.
We just saw that there is demand and there is not enough offer.

So the idea (or someone can call it a mission) can be formulated like:
to provide access to the best and curious developers from all around the world to solve local public or specific company's challenge(-s)
Not every country has a great developer community built. But they also need information support to achieve their goals, changing world ideas and innovative startups.
So they can test it faster and cheaper on hackathon rather than develop the in-deep project, select supplier, etc.
Only 24 (or 48) hours to build a prototype and auditorium to test it on. The big effort with a very tight schedule.

Working — awesome, keep on going.
Doesn't work? It's ok, only 24 hours wasted - and you like Nikola Tesla will try again with valuable experience in the background.
"I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work".
Nikola Tesla

2. Business model

In our work we often use the Business Model Canvas. This is the instrument with elements describing a company's or product's value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances.
Let's try to go though all the points to build a picture of the solution.

2.1 Customer Segments

Enterprise users need to be specified more, but so far I believe any manufacturer can be automized using robo-hands (IoT) for example. Companies struggling with the crisis can only reorganize and fire a lot of people or can try to find new opportunities with existing capacities.
Find more value-added activities for existed and potential customers using data already been collected to help customers make more objective, better decisions. Innovative ideas can be easily tested in a short period of time so companies with good intrapreneurship culture built within can test several projects with the smallest cost (almost at no cost).
Hackathon organizers will be an additional segment who gonna love this solution to add more features and recognition to e.g. repeated annual hackathons.

So customer segments for HaaS can be classified:
by industry
by problem type
  • manufacturing;
  • finance and insurance;
  • logistics;
  • energy;
  • telecommunications;
  • health care;
  • education;
  • transport (air, sea, land);
  • information and media;
  • enterprising;
  • others.
  • solving non-standard challenges;
  • identifying/delivering new products and services to the marketplace;
  • differentiating new services from competitors;
  • delivering products to customers on time;
  • changing or modifying old services and products;
  • solving interaction problems between departments within the company.
Jobs describe the things customers are trying to get done in their work or in their life: the tasks they are trying to perform, the problems - to solve, the needs - to satisfy.
Pains are anything that annoys customers before, during, and after getting a job done or simply prevents them from getting a job done. It also describes risks: potential bad outcomes, related to getting a job done badly or not at all.
Gains describe the outcomes and benefits customers want. Gains include functional utility, social gains, positive emotions, and cost savings.
Customer jobs
Let's look at one of our customer profiles
To create a consumer profile, we chose a company with the following features as an example:
Industry: finance.
Position: head of marketing and development.
Type of problem/request: supplement the existing service with new functions (with free and paid tariffs).

2.2 Value Propositions

Benefits company can achieve was described before and will help to define the value. Possibility to solve actual company's challenges with the help of the most curious and motivated IT specialists.
They can use their enterprise experience to build, implement and test potential ideas. They can a priori help to filter ideas previously didn't work within the same context or industry.

Even if the company has no ideas before start, pre-hack event with the company's employees and design thinking methodology can help to build a list of potential solutions.
And the company may want to emerge new market and test potential ideas without money or with the smallest amount.
This is simply a list of what we offer to a specific customer segment and their jobs, pains, and gains. This bundle of products and services helps customers complete either functional, social, or emotional jobs or helps them satisfy basic needs.
It describe how exactly the products and services alleviate specific customer pains: how we intend to eliminate or reduce some of the things that annoy our customers before, during, or after they are trying to complete a job or that prevent them from doing so.
It describe how our products and services create customer gains: how we intend to produce outcomes and benefits that the customer expects, desires, or would be surprised by, including functional utility, social gains, positive emotions, and cost savings.

Pain Relievers

Gain Creators

Products and services

Let's look at value propositions
for our customer profile from example

2.3 Channels

To increase awareness of companies about HaaS solution it can be promoted with existed business workshops and seminars held in startup hubs, such as Design Thinking Protomore's workshop.
Be a business conference partner, direct adverts to people attended an event or even interested in on social networks, website page visitors, etc. Existed hackathon organizers with the audience and need in smooth hackathon performance.
Let's look at the channels
through the prism of five distinct phases
site, social media, article, email, discussion, on conference
site, social media, article, email, on conference
article, personal offer, personal discussion
article, personal offer
site, personal offer, personal call or meeting
personal recomendation
startup hubs, rent or own business hall
sponsorship or participation
After sales
Personal meeting (or calls), consulting, business analysis, software development or another hackathon

2.4 Customer Relationships

Several relationship types can be used here:
  • personal assistance (this may happen on-site at the point of sale, by e-mail, or through other means),
  • self-service (especially, for experienced hackathon organizers),
  • automated service (e.g. can connect the best engineers with the company's management with the same interests to build stronger teams),
  • community (e.g. help build teams even before the event),
  • and co-creation (project can also be a hackathon project and all members can help to build and maintain it).

2.5 Revenue streams

For what value are customers really willing to pay?

Not so easy to answer this. Our customers — struggling enterprises — in the end, are paying for the problem solved, but anyway, any solution generated from the hackathon (even, if it seems promising) can fail. A lot of reasons involved, such as unaccounted factors, difficult to implement, etc. This is out of this scope.

The main service proposed to the struggling customers — turnkey hackathon based on the platform on selected locations (more locations to be added with more partners join).
Additional services will include:
  • challenges announcements and solutions hosting for participated teams,
  • platform for team building event organization for intracompany activities
  • and just online event platform for hackathon organizers.

Pricing policy:
Pricing plans for the main service for standard events with the predefined and well-tested schedule (24, 48, 72-hours events) and negotiable price for specialized events (additional highly specialized coaches, individual format etc.).
Additional services are better to serve automatically with predefined plans only to save on costs.

2.6 Key resources

The main key resources for HaaS are human resources.
  • Hackathon organizers
    They are engaged in organizing, conducting hackathon and providing all participants of the hackathon with necessary resources;
  • Involved engineers
    Without them nothing is possible to achieve. The community should be built before starting full commercial operations: several events should be held, a few famous companies should be involved for pilot test and to draw even more attention, marketing campaign (ads, email lists with announcements) should be designed prior to pilot, famous speakers invited to the pre-event and during the event, other entertainment activities.
  • Other specialists
    Hackathon's participants can be not only IT specialists, but finansists, accountants, so, anyone can be a participant, but this can be an extension. Additional motivation should be uncovered to involve them, but developers and engineers already very familiar with hackathons and curious enough to work for free.
  • Partners
    They promote, advertise, recommend the HaaS to their customers, partners and colleagues.
  • Sponsors
    They sponsor open (non-corporate) hackathons to promote their services, increase awareness, build confidence.

This is the main key resources without which nothing can be made.
In addition, it will be nice to have the following resources:
physical facilities (can be partner's) for holding events, specialized equipment (3D printers, useful materials for prototyping etc.), the hall for hackathons;
intellectual - property knowledge should be reserved© and some kind of financial guarantees for enterprises to increase willingness-to-participate.

2.7 Key activities

Our value proposition requires several key activities that can be grouped into 2 categories: problem-solving and platform/network.

Problem-solving is the main value we are bringing to the clients, coming up with new ideas. So knowledge management and continuous training to be better problem solvers and better facilitate idea generation process according to the customers' expectations.

Platform/network activities are platform management (adding more training programs, keep website and useful apps updates), platform promotion (+ every activity promotion), security & privacy (our clients can safely give us their data).

2.8 Key partnership

Defining who are and can be our partners is very easy using the following categories:
  • strategic alliance: startup hubs, accelerators and incubators;
  • coopetition: engineers and developers;
  • joint ventures: startups or small companies;
  • buyer-supplier: conference hall owners.
By joining forces with such partners, we can provide:
- optimization and economy of scale;
- reduction of risk and uncertainty;
- acquisition of particular resources and activities.

2.9 Cost structure

As service is build to solve customer's problem cost structure is value-driven. In that case, the company will get revenue when and if the problem will be solved. Example, increase production rate by 10% with hiring no employees.

The alternative option can be to use a variable-cost model, depending on the number of participants, the space used to handle the event, prepared prizes for participants and people involved.
This is more service-related: event management with specific participants ready to action (unique value).
Based in San Francisco
Based in Canada
Based in France

Several successful haсkothon organizers in the world

Based in Finland
Based in Germany


If your company wants to solve one of the following problems:
  • solving non-standard challenges;
  • identifying/delivering new products and services to the marketplace;
  • differentiating new services from competitors;
  • delivering products to customers on time;
  • changing or modifying old services and products;
  • solving interaction problems between departments within the company.
our hackathon (HaaS) is just what your business needs for.

We can provide different kinds of HaaS depending on your needs:
Hackaton on the online-platform gives you access to hundreds of experts around the world at once
External hackathon helps you to solve the problem by the attraction of experienced developers and engineers
Internal hackathon helps to optimize your business processes and interaction between departments
Read more information about HaaS

Let's solve your business challenge with productive Hackathon

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