Innovation Days Hawaii 2018 Recap
The inaugural Innovation Days Hawaii 2018 tackled sustainability and resilience challenges. The event ran in parallel to the Global Tourism Summit from October 1-3. Over 40 participants from Hawai’i Pacific University, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Kapiʻolani Community College and Windward Community College tackled innovation challenges related to the sustainability and resilience of Hawaii’s tourism industry. The challenges focused on how to balance the power of tourism’s popularity with its impact on residents and communities. Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, ABC Stores and Hawaii Tourism Authority proposed the following challenges:
On the first day participants pitched their ideas and teamed up to prototype solutions during 48 hours. Projects varied in nature and scope from fully fledged resiliency plans to geo-localization apps, and physical prototypes of environmentally-friendly products.
The participants received mentoring from high-profile companies and startup experts. During the 48 hours participants mingled with other Global Tourism Summit participants during receptions and networking hours, which presented a unique opportunity to both showcase and get feedback on their projects. One of the mentors, Kate Porjakova, Sultan Ventures, stated “What you want to see is challenges from different perspectives so you can actually tackle it in a more efficient and effective way that will create solutions that are not just beneficial to one group but that are appealing and beneficial to almost everybody”. Expert feedback was valuable to improve the solutions under development at each iteration. “The project has gone through many, many, many steps” said Kyle, a participant from Hawai’i Pacific University “We eventually got to a point where we can now build on it. I like that we have all the mentors to give us insight into some unforeseen aspects of our ideas”.
The final solutions were showcased in a prototype expo, which was broadcasted live by the Global Tourism Summit media channel. Company partners and mentors evaluated each project and tackled the daunting task of choosing the best ones. “I was so impressed with the thoroughness and the intelligence and the work that they put into the projects” – said Neil Ishida from ABC Stores.
Finally, one winner per category was announced. “Ocean Talks”, a storytelling program to promote awareness about sustainability issues won the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts category; “Disaster Masters”, a mobile app to provide international tourists with information relative to natural disasters, the ABC Stores category; and, “Direct Aloha”, a web app to avoid congestion and gaining rewards, the Hawaii Tourism Authority category.
Winning teams get support from the partners to make their idea happen. Hopefully, many participants are eager to pilot their ideas, as Nicole Brodie, Outrigger O-Zone, remarked “We’ve heard really great ideas and we want to implement all of them”.
Thanks to our company partners, to our education partners, and to our mentors. We hope to see you next year at the Innovation Days Hawaii 2019.
3 companies: Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, ABC Stores and Hawaii Tourism Authority
40+ participants: from Hawai’i Pacific University, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Kapiʻolani Community College and Windward Community College
26 ideas pitched
11 teams formed
20+ Mentors from XLRHI, Sultan Ventures, blue startups, Kanu Hawaii, , Hawaii Pacific University, University of Hawaii, devleague.