Makestorming tools: a gaming approach for fast prototyping

In every Startup Weekend, design and build demos are key to show the execution skill of the teams. As facilitator, I always recommend participants to use paper sketching before coding or creating fancy mock-ups. It is simple and can be changed easily with every pivot on your MVP during the validation process. However, the only drawback of this technique is that you need to create manually every element an app requires, such as buttons, screens or frames.

To accelerate this process, we proposed the participants to use the AppMaker during the Startup Weekend Lyon (IoT Makers) in France. AppMaker is a tool developed by nod-A (partner of the event) to design an app following a set of instructions inspired from the lean startup approach. Thus, it is possible to create awesome physical mock-ups with magnets.


How does it work?

AppMaker is focused on the end-user experience through UX design. To do so, you will have to think about the user’s journey through the app (La Conception). Then, you will be able to build a mock-up with a sequence of physical screens and magnets.


During the first step “La Conception”, you will need to define the app specifications, such as the value proposition, the functionalities, the data to exploit, the user context and segmentation. Then, you will need to define the “user persona” (i.e. personal/professional Background and environment) and the scenario of this person using your app. Thus, you will be able to define the tree structure of your app and select the main features for your first MVP. Finally, you will be able to build your mock-up with your team using all the available elements, such as screens, menus, pop-ups, icons, buttons, content or draw the missing elements:


Hands-on the AppMaker

Let’s imagine that you want to build an app to increase the interactions between participants and coaches during the Startup Weekend. To do so, we will use the Swapcard framework (partner of the event). In this app, only the participants of the Startup Weekend have access to the attendees list, the program of the event, the coaches list, the startups of the event and other social elements, such as the f6s link to register or our facebook page.

When attendees access to the app, they can complete their profile with their skills, bio and network. Then, the attendees list will be updated with all the information and with the filters we can find the participants according to their sector, profile or network. This feature can be used for different reasons during the weekend:

    • Find specific profiles (design, dev or biz dev) to complete their team
    • Have knowledge of other participants’ network. Thus, they can contact them quickly to ask an introduction with a lead customer for their project and do the validation.
    • Schedule a time slot with the coaches
    • Contact organizers

When attendees want to connect with coaches, they have to go to the list of coaches and then, use the filters according to what they need: lean startup, pitch, finances, … Then, once they found a coach of interest, they can see his profile and ask to connect with his available slots.

You keep doing the same process for all the features until you have a mock-up for the main functionalities of your app. Thus, it will be faster and easier to develop the final app with the UI you prefer and the jury will be happy to see a real demo:

At the end, the mock-up took me around 1h and the final app took me less than 2h (using an existing platform), which is a pretty good timing for a Startup Weekend 😉

You can see the final demo of Swapcard here:

About [nod-A] Makestorming

Makestorming tools are based on a gaming approach that gives your team a new and more fun way to work. They have designed a complete step-by-step workflow with proven success that fits in a box, helping you organize collaborative working sessions to unleash winning ideas in record time—without the help of a professional trainer. It is possible to use the tools as many times as you want on multiple projects to generate ideas, prototype them and take them a step further.



Interview with Adrien Chapelet

Hello Adrien! Thank you for your time and for accepting to be coach in the next Startup Weekend Lyon, IoT Makers. So, you are new in town? How is Lyon treating you? What do you think about our IoT ecosystem?

Indeed, I’ve moved to the city at the end of January. The city looks amazing and warmer than Lille :p

The IoT ecosystem is quite different since I don’t see a major startup place like Euratechnologies for example, but I already see some nice startup points in the city. I am really excited to discover Lyon startups, especially those dealing with IoT products.

Last time we met, you were participant/coach in the Startup Weekend Lille Makers one year ago. I remembered that you were helping many projects in parallel during the weekend. So, How did you manage to help all these guys? What is your secret sauce?

I was part of a team, but, to spice things up, I also wanted to help startups that were developing hardware and/or Sigfox objects. So, I defined the scope of the prototype of my team like Saturday morning, and I helped other teams as much as I can, while not sleeping between Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday, I finally start the work on the prototype, and, in few hours, I managed to build a functional connected NapPod (to sleep easily while being at work). 

In your opinion, Why is it important the role of mentor in a Startup Weekend?

I think the mentor could really help teams to nurture their ideas. As a mentor, I really want to enhance the startup weekend experience. In a certain way, I want to give back what I learned as a participant in startup weekends. 

I will help teams as much as I can on their IoT project with the experience I have.

How did you find your passion for the IoT? Can you tell us more about your maker spirit?

In fact, it is quite funny because my passion for IoT, and hardware in general, came from the first startup weekend I attended in early 2015. 

That is also at that time that I met Sigfox, and I am now part of their Ambassadors team, to promote and help people develop with their technology.

Since a year now, I also help startups creating and improving their IoT products. I am also an intern at Rtone, where I work as a firmware engineer on their upcoming products.

Since our next event is Startup Weekend IoT Makers, we would like to ask you: If you were an object, what would you be and why?

I would be a Pebble smartwatch, always connected, useful, and autonomous. I am also fan of their former hardware team, that really push the boundaries of what a smartwatch could be.

Thanks a lot for this interview, Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Yes, I will animate a Sigfox workshop at the beginning of the weekend, where I will present the technology, and give a hands-on experience to the participants.

Interview with Joseph Mignozzi

Hello Joseph! Thanks for taking some of your time with us. After having participated in our last Startup Weekend HandyTech, you decided to continue the Benur project – combining Roman chariots, electricity and IoT – your team created a new electric handbike to improve the mobility of people with disabilities. How did you came with such idea? What is your background? and What did you inspire you?

The idea came from a personal story, because following a traffic accident in 2012, I stayed two years in a wheelchair, and I created Benur to regain my mobility.

So, you have already years of working experience, Why did you decide to participate in Startup Weekend? What were your expectations?

My expectations were to discover and test prototype ideas

Which difficulties did you find during the weekend? Do you think you were prepared?

It was interesting to discover the startup weekend, without being prepared to be forced to work effectively

How did you manage to find such a great team?

I think it’s the quality of the event that attracts good profiles

In your opinion, why do you think that people should come to a Startup Weekend in Lyon?

To meet people and exchange and work with passionate people

What are the next steps for Benur? Do you have a product in Beta version? How can we reach you?

The first version will be released in May 2018, you can see all the information via our:

Since our next event is Startup Weekend IoT Makers (Internet of Things), we would like to ask you: If you were an object, what would you be and why?

Benur a connected object, the interest of its use is that it is shared and this is possible only with internet

Is there anything you would like to add?

The Startup Weekend was a great developer of solutions for my project, the objectivity of the participants allowed to be in the reality of the market