Open Innovation Competition to find viable and innovative solutions to reactivate city post COVID-19

Open Innovation Competition to find viable and innovative solutions to reactivate city post COVID-19

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has disrupted most industries in some way across the globe. In such a challenging time for so many, we recognise this as an opportunity for technology-forward solutions to invigorate our cities when they need it the most.

This year RMIT Activator partnered up with City of Melbourne to support their annual Open Innovation Competition. Participants were asked to address the 2021 problem statement: 

“How might we bring vibrancy back into the city post COVID-19 by reimagining the way we live, connect, work and play in our city while enhancing the social, cultural, environmental and economic vitality of Melbourne?”

The problem is not unique to Melbourne as COVID-19 has challenged communities worldwide, which is why this year’s challenge was extended to competitors from Australia, Vietnam and Indonesia. With the core focus on helping innovators and entrepreneurs to  go global, top performing participants had the chance to score cash prizes, entry into accelerator programs, mentoring and international opportunities to help them on their mission. 

Rapid Open Innovation Sprint

In support of the Open Innovation Competition, RMIT Activator hosted a Rapid Open Innovation Sprint as part of Melbourne Knowledge Week. Start up founders, entrepreneurs, students and innovative citizens were invited to build on existing ideas or ideate a new concept, ready to enter into the City of Melbourne competition. 

After four days of an intense sprint guided by experts from RMIT University and City of Melbourne, participants pressure-tested their ideas and pitched to a panel of judges.

Open Innovation Challenge – Melbourne, Australia Showcase

Six competitors made it to the final pitch showcase to present their trailblazing solutions and among the finalists there are a few notable mentions we’d like to make.

Finalist - Mohammad Mohammadi, Founder and Director of POPS4public

Mohammad standing with a mic in his hand, pitching his start up with a presentation in the background.

Mohammad Mohammadi is an RMIT Activator community member who is currently building his start up, POPS4Public. Mohammad has taken his idea through our flagship pre-accelerator program LaunchHUB and took POPS through the Rapid Open Innovation Sprint. We are so proud to see his hard work is paying off by becoming a finalist in this competition.  
POPS4Public is an online platform that makes accessible and inclusive public spaces available in cities by activating Privately-Owned Public Spaces (POPS). Users can search and find free publicly accessible places for their individual activities – so you see why the POPS model will be a powerful tool in bringing the city back to life.

Winner - Saumya Sinha and Smitan Pradhan, Founders of EverythingData

Smitan and Saumya standing and presenting their start up idea.

It was fantastic to see Saumya and Smitan WIN the competition – they're close friends of Activator and promising entrepreneurs. We first met the duo during our Cyber Ready CIC Innovation Challenge and they’ve since gone on to participate in our Rapid Open Innovation Sprint and recent MARS Petcare Innovation Challenge (where Smitan won first prize!)  
EverythingData is your must-have, real-time advisor for guaranteed retail success. It understands your goals, identifies sales opportunities and recommends sales strategies so you sell more without having to do all the hard work alone.

Winner - Jeddi Kyne and Elles Le, Founders of WADOO

Smitan and Saumya standing and presenting their start up idea.

Wadoo was a crowd favourite during the pitch showcase, winning multiple accolades including our nomination for entry into LaunchHUB, the Startup Victoria Prize, Product Discovery Workshop, Fiverr Prize and International idea/prototype stream prize. We are fizzing with excitement to have Wadoo as part of our current LaunchHUB cohort and cannot wait to see how their start up will help Melbourne as we emerge from COVID-19 restrictions. 
Wadoo, short for ‘what to do’ is an app that uses augmented reality to gamify Melbourne and bring people back into the city through smart route recommendations, real-time event data and real-world rewards.

View the other solutions to reinvigorate the city here or watch the showcase here.

Open Innovation Challenge - Vietnam

There was also a buzz over  in Vietnam as students and innovators from across the country gathered for a localised version of the competition to revive Ho Chi Minh City. Competitors went head-to-head to find solutions inspired by their problem statement: 

How might we bring vibrancy back into the city in a post-pandemic world by reimagining the way we live, connect, work and play in our city whilst enhancing the social, cultural, environmental and economic vitality of Ho Chi Minh City?

Competition winners

Many cutting edge ideas came from competitors with a few stand outs winning, including a few RMIT students teams. Here they are:

Idea winners 

Segment for students across all disciplines with an idea or the ambition to make your city more vibrant

  • First place: Subhajeet Chatterji – his solution focused on educating the elderly on technology to help them stay connected and independent.
  • Second place: RMIT students Nguyen Viet Thong, Nguyen Tien Dung, Nguyen Tran Thao Uyen, Huynh Nhat Dang and Diep Phan Anh Tai from team The Horeca - their idea leaned into the growing beauty industry and ideated an international and domestic beauty travel service. 
  • Third place: RMIT student Nguyen Viet Thong - an educational virtual world platform that uses multi-user entertainment incentives such as playing games together to encourage self-learning.   


Early product winner 

For seasoned entrepreneurs with a prototype or presence in the market which contributes to the city’s recovery

  • Winner: Trung, Founder of Drone Pro – a smart flying devices system for high rise building services, including: delivery to apartment's balcony, cleaning building’s glass surfaces, painting outside and much more.

Our cities, so vital to culture and economy, have a challenging road ahead as they adjust to the world post COVID-19. The inspiration we gain from programs like the Open Innovation Competition are vital. They give entrepreneurs a pathway to have their ideas soundboarded, instantly tapping into expert feedback. They provide boosts of funding when raising capital is harder than ever.  We’re very proud to support a world-class activation that finds problems affecting a global population and empowers entrepreneurs to create viable, innovative and technology driven start ups to address these gaps. 

If this blog has sparked an interest in you to discover the world of entrepreneurship and innovation, sign up to Activator Connect and access our events, Slack channel and much more. Sign up here.  

Plus, make sure you follow us on social media – you'll never miss a thing.

06 October 2021


06 October 2021


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