Tampere
29 May, Wednesday
25° C

The library of essays of Proakatemia

Experience on working on 24 H Challenge



Kirjoittanut: Sille Sinor - tiimistä SYNTRE.

Esseen tyyppi: Yksilöessee / 2 esseepistettä.
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 8 minuuttia.

I have been part of the 24 H challenge project team now two years. In this essay, I will share my experience on it and how the project looks from the project team’s perspective.

What is 24 H Challenge

The 24 H Challenge is an innovation challenge that is given to the graduating teams in Proakatemia as their final “test”. It is a two-day long event that takes place on Proakatemias premises. It consists of a real company challenge that is presented to the team in front of the community of Proakatemia by company representatives. Each team is given one or two challenges depending on the size of the team. Then the team is challenged to solve the company’s challenge by innovating a solution based on the company/clients’ needs and the skills they have gained during the three and a half years of studies. The teams are given time to talk with the representatives and get more knowledge on the needs and pain points of the challenge. Teams need to work out a solution in the next 24 hours, from the presentation given by the company representative. Teams are allowed and have the privilege to use the Proakateias premises all by themselves for the whole 24 hours. The solution is presented in a pitch the next morning to the representative of the company and the community of Proakatemia. Along the pitch the team works out a report to cover more detailed information on the matter for the company, this also needs to be delivered to the representatives by a specific time. After the pitch, the company’s representatives take around 1 to 1,5 hour time to oversee the whole solution made by the teams and grade it from 1-5. Grades represent money value, meaning if the team has done a very good job and reached 5 they are getting paid 5 000 euros from the company as a reward/salary. Grades are then released in front of the teams and community to celebrate together the journey and challenge of what the graduating teams have accomplished in a short time.

Every team needs to face this challenge when graduating from Proakatemia. It is one of the biggest community events yearly happening. But now that we know what the 24H Challenge is about, let’s take a closer look at how it gets built and what is the project team’s load on this.

Original of the Project

The project works as one of the heritage projects inside of Proakatemia. It means the project gets passed from one project team to another. In this particular project, you get recruited for your first year of studies in the spring. The project is a two-year commitment because the concept is big and has lots of information that can only be learned by being part of the project group and getting an example of it. In the project, the “older” team members take more lead cause they are more knowledgeable on the matters. The recruitment is usually held in February or March to ensure an early start for the project. The new project members are chosen by their characteristics and motives towards the project. One of the biggest things that members need to clear on is that typically the commitment on this project is two years since the knowledge needs to be heritated.
My motives for taking part in this project are different in many ways. One was that after seeing it happen in my first semester, it left me impressed, and part of me wanted to be part of making it. Another point was that I knew that in my second year, the first English team would graduate and as part of the organizing team I could make sure and assure them a good event, where the language aspect would be taken into account. My third and fourth points were about learning about selling to companies because in this project you got to do it a lot and you would if not lose the fear of contacting. Also, the opportunity to work with a team that has members from different teams was on my mind as well. In the end, even though it has been a hard time to time and an emotional rollercoaster the project has taught me so much more and it has and will remain one of the best ones because of the project team members and the feeling that you get after finishing the event and seeing the graduating teams on the stage.

The Different Phases of the Project

At the beginning of the year, the project team focuses on requiring new members to the project team. After the team is fully assembled view meetings are made to get to know each other and go over the concept of the 24 H challenge and the selling process more in detail to the new members. Before selling the team needs to assemble information on the graduating teams on what are their weaknesses, the size of the team and strengths and what the team has worked on, and what specialisation they have. Based on the information project team makes goals on how many partners they set to get and also in what field, since the better teams can perform the more gain there is for the project team as well.
After that, the project team starts the selling process and assembles the leads. From the previous year, there are usually some warm companies who need to be contacted, so it is a good start to the selling. Usually, it has been that in the spring there are not many sales done, but it is good practice to get by weekly cold calling. Contacting selling and finding the leads contains most of the project. The selling is usually made from the start of the spring until the last week before the event, depending on how successful the team is on the selling part. In the selling, the project team needs to keep secret from the community and especially from the graduating team whom they have contacted and who are the partners for the challenge. The point is to have the partners as a surprise to the whole community and graduating teams as part of the event.

After the partners are mostly acquired the team can start organizing the event. Many aspects need to be taken care of. Things like partners thank you gifts, that are given to the partners participating in the event. As well as thank-you gifts for the volunteers like Proakatemia alumni, coaches, technical support, and documenters. Also, the rooms need to be booked and assured that all the permissions and technical support are working and acquired. On top of that sponsors need to be acquired and contacted as the gifts are usually sponsored. The project team usually also wants to offer sponsored goods for the graduating team such as energy drinks, some snacks, etc. Many small things need to be organized and informed discussed and made at this event. Therefore the project team usually dedicates one whole week to the event week for just working on the event and working the running things.

After the preparation has been done as much as possible comes the event days, where the whole concept comes together. The project team usually has rehearsals the day before, but as in the characteristics of events is usually things don’t follow the plans and things can take quick turns on the way. But this is usually knowledge by the project team and the team is prepared for the quick changes. The event days usually consist of taking care of the partners who have come to represent the companies at the event, handling graduating teams on the event matters and questions, delivering a good show for the community, and making sure the premises are only accessed by the graduates and partners. There are Audi things as well that are taken care of such as sending the reports forward etc. But the important to understand is that the work the project team does in the background is complex.
After the event project team takes responsibility for cleaning the premises. Also, the project team handles the money aspect, so billing the partners on the amount of what they gave to the graduating teams on the solution. From the money that the graduating team earns 25 % is kept by the project team as a reward for the work they have input by arranging and selling and making the event happen to the graduating teams. Also, the project team holds a Motorola dinner on the matter to reflect the learnings and event as a whole. This is one of the last times the project team is working together as the “old” members will leave the project after that since they are participating as a graduating team in the event.

My Experience and views

I think it has been a rollercoaster but I believe the attitude matters the most. As this project is one of the hardest projects there is in PRoakatemia. Since graduating teams, graduation depends on the event, so it brings in different pressures. Also selling innovation with the high price is hard in my experience. But even though there is this aspect I’m still thankful for the challenges and I have learned a lot from the project. However, since the project goes over many different phases during the process. You need to find the motivation and the right attitude since lots of the project is about cold calling, but once the event organizing comes into the picture it gets more engaging and fun. It also lot to do with the team you work with, because you share the frustration and success.

This year one big change we made on the selling was organizing sales days with the pingsters, since the amount of contacting increased to a level that we couldn’t make it in the project team alone. I hope next year’s project team also organizes this. Two partners were accomplished from the sales days. We also got good feedback in the sense that the pingsters felt more engaged with the community by being part of these sales days. Big thank you for the pingsters participating in it.

The partners and the challenges were in my opinion good. They were quite well-known companies and the challenges that were prepared for them were challenging enough. Meaning they were complex and hard so the graduating teams spent the whole time working on them. Only a few were able to sleep best for two hours. Many times can happen that the challenges are too easy and part of the team is left not to do anything with the time. But this year there wasn’t any problem with that. Also based on the comments during the event people were satisfied with the hardness of the level. Even if the challenge seemed easy in the beginning it wasn’t and all of them were equally hard.

The event was organized well from the outside and people were amused and entertained by the event. It does feel that we were able to lift the whole spirit of the community with this event together with our graduating teams and project team. Lightning and music were top notch and we got many compliments on how we were able to decorate and make the event appear so nice. But behind that, all was a lot of work and tears.
– I have been able to learn on the side a lot on:
– how the innovation process works
– how to do cold calls
– how to get to the right mindset for cold calling
– how to do B2B sales
– how to manage a team and communicate
– how to take into account two languages in an event
– event organising

And many more I can’t even think of for now.
Satisfied and proud would be the words to describe how I feel after this was done by us.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the 24-H Challenge experience was complex and required lots of work from the project team individuals. The body of the event is challenging to the point of selling innovation to organizing a two-day-long event with around 150 participants. But how much learning and connection and more you can get from the experience is a key to success.
This essay describes the different phases of the project from requiding to event executing. The writer’s journey and reflection are also described. The learning was good but stressful at times. To recommend this project would be hard since the person needs to be strong to take on this journey. But if one wishes to do so the learning and experience of it is unique and great.’

 


Sources

Materials from previous years of organizing teams. 24 H Challenge Teams channel. 2022-2023.
Niemi Jarkko. Rokmind – sales and cold calling preparation workshop. Autumn 2022 and Spring 2023.
Parkkila Ville. System thinking paja. Spring 2023.
Forbes Council Members. Nine Tips to Master Cold-Calling (Even When Your Nervous). Forbes. 6.7.2021.

Post a Comment