Last September, a small team of M3 designers and engineers participated in the athenahealth More Disruption Please Hackathon. We thought, being in product development, that we would go in and sweep the grand prize.
We split our group and worked on two projects. The first was a very ambitious, small-scale medical booth that provided blood testing and medical attention in low-income and rural areas. We created some visuals, discussed the business plan, and created a use-case for the presentation. Then we mocked up a booth, complete with a dummy arm, corn-syrup blood, 3D-printed lancet mechanism, and a pump/tubing set. We actually demonstrated using the lancet to pierce the “flesh” of the arm and showed “blood” being drawn through the tubing and into a small canister. The second project was an app promoting healthy behavior and social responsibility. We created some visual assets, talked through a business model, and quickly mocked it up with invision. We had two teams; both with stunning visual content, working prototypes, and professional presentations. How could we not win?
You’ve probably already guessed it. We didn’t win. I’m not even sure that we came close. But, we did learn a couple of valuable real-world lessons.
Last month, athenahealth sponsored another hackathon. Our team went back, we applied the lessons that we learned, and we totally crushed it.