Think HBR


Brian Hill
Laughing Mind
Got an appetite for hands-on innovation? On 19 -20 May 2017, Laughing Mind will be running the opening event of Hunter Innovation Festival, HunterHackFest. Their Hackathon is a fast-moving, hands-on, technology and business prototyping event that connects three different team member personas: Hackers (engineering/software/hardware types), Hustlers (Commerce, Accounting, Business developer types) and Hipsters (Creative, design driven types) in a mashup of speed-dating on innovation ideas, working to deliver tangible outcomes by the end of the event for prize-money and profile. Teams tackle defined challenge topics, with sponsors having a strong role to play in defining problems they've been faced with, which need innovative responses.
The Hackathon event format is a well recognised problem solving pattern used within technology companies as they accelerate their product innovation pipeline. Companies such as Australian technology success Atlassian are well known for their ShipIt initiative, where teams work over a 24hr cycle to identify persistent unsolved problems + opportunities, then build a technical prototype in a company competition that evolves the Atlassian product range or Operations.
Speaking to HBR, Brian Hill, Founder of Laughing Mind, commented: "We're delighted to be delivering HunterHackFest again in 2017, building on what we'd started in 2016. It's a perfect event to hold at the start of Hunter Innovation Festival as we work to accelerate the pace of innovation and stimulate the startup ecosystem of the Hunter region - it has a great multiplier effect, as it increases the connections of talent in the area, builds trust in a short delivery cycle as teams work hard on their entries and often seeds a business idea that can be taken further in accelerator programs like SlingShot.”
“We know from delivering several prior hackathon style events in 2016 that the region has got a great mix of talent and ideas, with a hunger for locally created solutions. This year, we're targeting bigger exposure to Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) hardware and software with Thinxtra, as we know it's a great fit for the diverse range of industries in the area, from healthcare to mining, agribusiness and civic engineering. We're working to get a remote event hub activated in 2017, targeting an AgTech/Agribusiness challenge that aligns well with longer broadcast distances and low cost hardware, with support throughout the 2017 Hunter Innovation Festival program to progress IoT ideas. With Eighteen04 as our event venue hosts in the new Hunter Digital Precinct and Newcastle City Council on board as one of our challenge sponsors, we're keen to see what emerges from this years teams."
The event is part of a Venture Catalyst event series from Laughing Mind, designed to move teams from Idea to Action in a time limited event format that gets teams connected, exposed to contemporary technology, collaboration practices and hones their STEAM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Arts + Maths) skills in a memorable, connecting experience. With further events on their planning board for 2017, there's more to come for our region.
For further information contact Brian on 0414 430 450, email or visit
Brian Hill Brian Hill
is an experienced digital strategist and health professional with a track record in business innovation, service transformation programs and startup ecosystem development in the ACT, Hunter and Central Coast regions. He is an active mentor of several startups, an Eighteen04 Board member, Founder of Laughing Mind, CoFounder of Assemblient, and a Certified Information Systems Auditor.