Condensed into a single keyword: community.
Based on our own experiences and after talking with the mentors at the hackathon site, it seemed like the best way to get the services of Business Espoo out there, as well as to aid companies, was to foster the existent communities and the spirit that already exists within Espoo.
What it does
HIVE makes it possible to strengthen a community. With HIVE, we unleash the full potential in communication between businesses, both old and new, Business Espoo, Aalto University and in the end, the world. HIVE is for sharing knowledge and talent as well as networking. Business Espoo is in the loop and a core part of the community right off the bat, ensuring their services are known and available to startups and companies.
In practice HIVE is a tangible, modular system of hexagon shaped screens and and objects, that allow its users to build a community both virtually, and physically. The users build their own setup and create inspiring spaces to fit their needs. Then it's time to start posting content into the screens, get answers, information, share events and ask feedback about products. The users can build their own HIVE into any office, university class, public space or anywhere where the users feel it would be relevant. Messages sent through the system propagate throughout the network and are visible at any HIVE, but also the central HIVE, which serves as a convenient co-working place or an event venue, inviting all to network and have a blast together. The software, as well as the blueprints for the screens and associated information are all open source, available for anyone to build their own, and join in the community. You don't have to have yet another new app on your phone. Just build your own setup or find the nearest HIVE and join the buzz.
For starters, HIVE would be deployed in the space of A Grid and other offices of Business Espoo. A starter kit with a few HIVE modules would be available for any business or organisation looking to join the community.
To add an extra something into all of this, we wanted to make HIVE even more extraordinary. We thought of entrepreneurs, students, big companies' employees and found one thing in common that they all lack. People have the latest technologies, info and community that comes within HIVE, but they still don't have all the time in the world and their work is sometimes very stressful and hectic. So we sparked up HIVE with an extra add-on: You can open the cover of the module, and dive in it to have an efficient nap in the middle of the day.
Challenges we ran into
One could say you could achieve similar results with more conventional messaging solutions - perhaps so, but the problem persists, does it not?
We wanted to find a solution, shat stands out and fits the needs of Espoo. Our take with the creation of physical spaces in addition to virtual ones adds its own twist into the communication. If Business Espoo could be the one providing the HIVEs, it makes sure the services of Business Espoo are on board right off the start.
The quirky visuals and the idea of new Business Espoo being a "beehive", are part of conscious branding and the choice to go with a tangible product. We faced a challenge, when we wanted the information appear as fun, fresh and extra valuable for people to get excited about it. So we decided to encourage people to interact, build and hack their own iteration of the HIVE!
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We came together as a team since the start and came up with an idea we enjoy and feel inspired working with. We believe HIVE answers the challenge given to us!
What we learned
A whole bunch about what kind of businesses operate in Espoo! We learned about sharing responsibilities and balancing between hacking and napping.
What's next for HIVE
See you once the pitching starts! ;)