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Guest blog post by #SWVan coach, Tony Gui

Challenged accepted.

All-star teams formed.

Adrenaline is the fuel for ideas.

Post-its, pivots, and coding, OH MY!

Hungry, Sleepless, and Determined.

All for the experience to pitch the next greatest idea or startup over a weekend.

TonyGui-Blog

Millennials are replacing their weekends for the opportunity to solve some bold and badass challenges to design better futures. Hackathons and Startup Weekends are being curated globally to bring together passionate leaders and entrepreneurs with diverse skills to design innovative solutions. Even NASA has seen the value of hosting their own Hackathon, providing access to their open source data to teams of technologist, developers, artists, designers, and entrepreneurs across the globe.

Whether you are a seasoned hacker/startup guru or a virgin curious about the experience, these weekends are full of adrenaline, excitement, frustration, emotion, and new learning. Come Sunday, it’s celebration of what your team has designed!

Having had experience in these events as both a participant and mentor, I’d love to share some key tips:

1 — Fall in love with the problem not the idea. Don’t trust anyone who thinks they have the next greatest idea. All ideas are crap and are based on assumptions. Get out of the building and test your ideas with real people who are having the problem you are designing for.

2 — Build Team Understanding. Chances are everyone on your team is coming from a different background. It may feel as though everyone is speaking a different language. As a team, understand everyone’s skills — some might be great at coding, visual design, or strategy. Visualizing the problem and process will make sure everyone is speaking the same language and feels heard.

3 — How Might We is an innovator’s most powerful weapon. As you unpack various problems along the weekend, keep asking How Might We. This secret will help uncover fresh ideas and insights.

4 — Visualize Everything! The one that picks up the pen solves the problem.

5 — The new 4 Ps: Prototype, prototype, prototype, and prototype.Design is not about building beautiful things. Design is about triggering the right responses. Build prototypes that can be tested on people to learn whether or not you are triggering the responses you want.

6 — Business Model Canvas. Learn to use the Business Model Canvas, this will help you visualize whether or not your startup makes any sense. How will you make money? Who are your customers? What is your promise to your customer? How will they know about it?

7 — Pitch! Show and Tell time. Make us resonate to the problem you are solving — what is! Show us how you can relieve that pain point for us — what could be!


*This was a guest blog post by Startup Weekend Vancouver 2015 coach, Tony Gui.

Tony Gui is a design strategist and creative hustler who splits his life between San Francisco and Vancouver.  He has founded two startups and is currently bringing the third to life. Kreatives will be a design and strategy lab working with investors and businesses to sustain innovation and launch new ventures globally.  Tony has taught design thinking around the world, mentored at NASA’s International Space App’s Challenge in New York, and is a finalist in the 2015 Fast Company Innovation by Design Awards. He is passionate about working with entrepreneurs and businesses to design meaningful futures.

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