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Startup Weekend is a community event where business ideas are pitched on a Friday evening, teams are formed for some of them, and the teams work all weekend to launch a viable company and present the results on Sunday evening in front of the community and a panel of judges.
I participated in Kalamazoo’s Startup Weekend event in November 2013 on a team with three other people. One member had pitched the idea of creating a short url for events that are located in multiple places. The information for these events tend to be long emails with multiple links, making it challenging to navigate. “Sheepdog,” the final name of the website, could “herd all the locations to one place.”
As the least technical person in the group, my role was providing feedback on the design and use, researching what was already out there, conducting interviews, and being a cheerleader. Since all we had was a total of 54 hours, staying focused and upbeat was important, which made the role of cheerleader an essential part of the team. On Saturday it looked like we might not have more than demo screen shots. By Sunday evening, we were able to provide a live demonstration. The judges placed Sheepdog in second place. The website is currently offline and is being revamped to get launched in 2014. You can follow what happens with Sheepdog on Twitter or Facebook. If you would like to view the presentation, please click on the image below:
The graduate level Business Process Management course required one main group project paper and presentation assignment. Four classmates each presented a company issue and the rest of the class could choose which issue to help solve. I chose to work with a Stryker team. The issue involved the relationship between a group at the corporate office, and those out in the field who were sent to fix items. The follow-up paperwork was not being received timely, mostly because of errors that required the paperwork be returned and resubmitted. As a group, we spoke to people in the department, looked at reports provided by the classmate leading the effort, and brainstormed ideas. We presented our ideas at the company to management and others involved, and submitted a final paper. This project would have been better as part of a full 12 week course. It was challenging to get the information we needed and set up meetings timely during six and a half weeks. The result is that Stryker has implemented the ideas presented in the paper. If you would like to read the paper, please click below: