What we learnt from the Twipe Growth Hackathon

It has already been half a year since the last “My Twipe Days”. Time really flies when you’re having fun. The “My Twipe Days” are all about working on projects we usually wouldn’t have time for during our normal days at Twipe. With room for creativity and freedom in the process the second “My Twipe Days” of the year took place in the form of a two-day Growth-Hackathon.

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Four teams worked two days on new innovative concepts and business ideas:

  • Push the Trigger“: experiment with push notifications to activate readers
  • Reader Engagement Heatmaps“: give intuitive feedback of your publication
  • stocks.me“: develop a tool to control your stock portfolio
  • Podcasts“: explores how newspapers can benefit from alternative consumption channels

The Goals for the 2 Day Growth-Hackathon were to

  • Generate new product / startup ideas
  • Stimulate innovation
  • Increase ownership feeling and commitment
  • Generate excitement

“The My Twipe Days give the Twipees an opportunity to work in different roles than they usually have and explore ideas that can benefit Twipe and our customers.”

Food for thought

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We kicked off the Hackathon with a brain storming session over pizza and snacks (#excitedtwipees) and discussed our project and startup ideas that we wanted to explore during those two days. After some rounds of discussion and voting, the Twipe electoral college has decided on the topics that we wanted to work on in the following days.

Teams were assembled to work on the four chosen projects.

 

Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno

The four teams huddled up in different corners and started with the prototypes. Time was precious and brains on fire. We put our heads together to innovate on our ideas.

Push the Trigger

reading-triggers-newPublishers have a daily challenge to attract new subscribers and/or retaining their current readers. The team: ‘Push The Trigger’ tried to reactivate readers who tried out the application of one of our customers and reactivate their current subscribers through using push notifications. By using smart data, the team was able to generate a significant increase of readers on that day.

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“We learnt that there is still a huge opportunity for publishers to increase their readership, subscriptions and maintain their retention through the smart use of notifications. This experiment will now be expanded to other customers.” says Ruben Gees, Team Leader Sales & Marketing

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img_4582Reader Engagement Heatmaps

Building on the existing platform of EngageReaders one team wanted to improve the overview of article performance and strove to find an intuitive solution to navigate through top performing articles. This is how the Heatmaps were born: a more intuitive way to see article performance by means of an overlay over your well-known publication.

“It was a lot of fun to step outside of the daily working habits and try something new. The biggest constraints were obviously time and resources, but we are happy with what we were able to pull off.” says Birgit van Goethem, Business Analyst

stocks.me

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Under the project title “stocks.me” a team worked to develop a tool that allows users to be in control of their stock portfolio by providing relevant, weighted news in combination with an excellent UI.

A great team of developers (Lies, Ben and Andries) chose to focus on the interface. As weighted news is readily available from API’s such as cityFalcon, they sought to deliver these articles optimized for a mobile viewing experience. The resulting app gives a “magazine-like” feel to your stock portfolio. The first page gives all information at a quick glance about your investments. After a quick swipe to the next page you can read the most relevant articles (max 5) per stock. It should come as no surprise that with their fantastic work the developers took first prize for best demo.

 

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Podcasts

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The Podcast team took up the challenge of exploring how newspapers can benefit from alternative channels and tap into new audiences through technological innovation.

A couple of podcast enthusiasts worked on prototyping a solution that automatically creates an audio file containing a summary of the most relevant articles of the day, by using text to speech technology and automatically feeding it into the iTunes podcast platform. This way, newspaper publishers can leverage new moments of consumption of their audience or bring their content to a completely new user base. Here is a sample of what was created.

“The greatest learnings for me were exploring a completely new technology; assessing the quality of the text to speech offer currently on the market and doing the research on how newspapers and big media are experimenting with podcasting.” says Dana Nastase, Product Manager magazine.live

Show me the money!

The “Twipe Days Hackathon” finished with presentations of each team to the jury. The teams gave a demo of their working prototypes and explained their business cases to the audience.

With ratings from their peers and the jury, 4 awards were given to the

  • Best Presentation – Push the Trigger
  • Most Innovative Idea – Podcasts
  • Best Prototype – stocks.me & Heatmaps
  • Best Business Case – Push the Trigger

We are already looking forward to the next My Twipe Days and the inspiring ideas we will come up with then.