Vodafone 24 gives teams of students just 24 hours to invent something brilliant. With the second ever competition all done and dusted, we've been getting the inside story...

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Have you got a great idea bubbling inside you? Could you invent the next big thing? That’s what Vodafone 24, our unique ‘createathon’ event, wants to find out. The second ever Vodafone 24 took place in March this year, and now that the winners have all been decided it’s time for Vodafone Social to take a look at what our innovative entrants came up with.

 

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But before we do that, we need to find out what this year’s Vodafone 24 was all about. We’ve been catching up with Bryan Hill, part of the Innovations Team at Vodafone, to find out what the brief was, what happened, and what was different this time round…

Inventing something new

“This Second Vodafone 24 took place during the last weekend in March,” Bryan says, “over a 24 hour period from the 29th to the 30th. For us, this time round was all about whether we could make the event a repeat success, and if we could streamline it.”

Just like last time, the idea was to ask teams of students to come up with a new product or service and create a report to explain everything about its conception, all within a 24 hour time period. The teams that scored first, second and third place would all win iPads, while the overall winners would bag an internship at Vodafone. The teams’ ideas had to answer one of three briefs, and had to be in some way related to phones:

“We asked the teams to invent new products and services…”

“We asked the teams to invent new products and services over one of three categories,” says Bryan. “They could choose products to help busy families, ones with health and medical applications, or they could develop something to do with wearable technology.

“We got a real mix of entries – it was a relatively even spread. A lot of the teams did combinations of two or three of the questions, especially combinations of wearables with health and medical applications. Activity tracking wristbands are a hot topic right now so that proved popular. But we also had a lot of entries designed to help families, around things like babysitting and meal planning.”

Top quality

Because the teams for the second Vodafone 24 could see the ideas that won the first competition, they all knew the level they had to hit to win this time round. And, as Bryan explains, that really kicked things up a gear:

“The overall quality of the entries was incredibly high. Last time round we had a number of entries that were of lower quality and a bit too rushed, making it easier for us to pick our winners. This time, virtually every entry was of a very good standard – people knew the standard they would have to aim for, and they surpassed it.”

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“We had a number of teams this time submitting videos alongside their full report, for instance, and one team even made a computer animation. So there was definitely a higher level of effort this time round.

“The level of background research was much, much higher too. Almost every report came with a dozen references to background information and research. A lot of the teams’ ideas were clearly the result of research around existing solutions.”

It’s especially impressive when you remember that all this work was done in just 24 hours:

“As with the first Vodafone 24, we ran spot quizzes on our Facebook group throughout the night to see who was still awake and working. That way,” Bryan says, “we knew there were teams that clearly worked for the whole 24 hour period – they were online and active during the whole thing. On top of that, we’ve had really good unsolicited feedback from teams saying how much they enjoyed it and how challenging it was.””

Bigger and better

It all sounds like a roaring success, but what was it like organising the second ever Vodafone 24? The ‘difficult second album’ of the createathon world?

“We were actually able to be a lot more relaxed this time,”

“We were actually able to be a lot more relaxed this time,” Bryan tells us. “Having seen it work, and having seen the rate at which people registered, and what kind of time scales they registered in, we weren’t getting nervous over how many people would enter. We knew there’d be a final flurry in the last few days.

“And because we’d run the event once before, we knew the level of interaction and help that we’d have to provide, as well as the kinds of questions that we’d be asked.”

In the end, the second Vodafone 24 turned out to be much bigger than the first: “We had 34 teams register, which contained 116 people over all. All the numbers – registrations, teams, and people – were up by about 25 percent from the first competition.”

…And that’s where we’ll leave things for now. Stay tuned to Vodafone Social over the next few weeks for a rundown of the amazing entries that scooped first, second and third place.

Last year’s Vodafone 24: Want to see the ideas that won last time? Check out the joint third place winners here, the second place winners here and the overall winners here.