#POSSIBILITIES Hackathon: Talent In The Limelight
PUNE, India, May 30, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — ElasticRun recently concluded its first-ever Hackathon “#POSSIBILITIES”. The competition was open for tech enthusiasts from across the country to showcase their problem-solving skills using cutting-edge technology. The event was sponsored by Microsoft and concluded with the grand finale in Pune on 28th May.
ElasticRun deploys technology data and AI to build a deep reach logistics network and enable brands from multiple industries to reach rural consumers. By providing a direct service from brands, ElasticRun enables rural Kirana stores with better pricing and schemes improving their earning opportunities while also enriching the lives of rural consumers by making many life enhancing products available in the rural market.
#POSSIBILITIES Hackathon was designed with problem themes echoing challenges ElasticRun is solving. It had three phases- Approach, Prototype and Finale Presentation round. The best approaches qualified for the Prototype Submission phase. The shortlisted participants from the Prototype Submission were invited to Pune for the Final Presentation round. Out of the 4000+ team registrations, 14 teams qualified for the final round.
On 28th May 2022, the grand Hackathon finale started with a presentation that exhibited how ElasticRun is a gamechanger for the gig economy by efficiently utilising technology and machine learning solutions. The atmosphere was teeming with anticipation. Shortlisted teams were present in Pune to present their solution to the grand jury and listen to a great speaker lineup for the day.
The opening note was from Mr. Sandeep Deshmukh (Co-Founder and CEO of ElasticRun) with an inspirational message on how the idea of creating ElasticRun came. Sandeep explained how ElasticRun is on the verge of “dismantling the whole ecosystem of how we think we reach the different parts of the country or geographical locations and rebuilding that ecosystem.” He added that uberisation is necessary to reach the deep pool of consumers in India’s rural hinterlands and that the ElasticRun team is developing a robust network to reach every corner of the country that will continue to be operationally successful and profitably scalable. He wished all the participants and greeted them for the time and effort they invested to create solutions for some real-world problems.
The event was also graced by industry experts Mr. Shripad Agashe, Director-Engineering at Deserve Labs, Mr. Harishankar K, Vice President-Digital Core Transformation at Kimberly-Clark, and Mr. Srinandan Sundaram, Executive Director, Food & Refreshment (F&R) at Hindustan Unilever Limited and Vice President, F&R, for Unilever, South Asia.
Addressing the participants, Mr. Shripad Agashe shared his thoughts on the approach that engineers can follow in their daily challenges to build great quality products. While talking about the constant pursuit of perfection, he quoted Moltke’s view, “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.”
Mr. Agashe also mentioned that it is important to minimize the gap between expectation and reality and that there is no universal definition for perfection and that it is important to detect failure and correct it to achieve success. He also encouraged participants to think differently and inculcate the principles like “Over a long period of time, survival dwarfs performance” and “Irreversibility means there is no future” while sharing anecdotes on them.
Another iconic speaker, Mr Harishankar K, Vice President-Digital Core Transformation, Kimberly-Clark, shared his knowledge and experience in digital transformation in the FMCG industry. He discussed how quickly consumer behaviours are changing, their impacts on the industry, and how businesses respond to it. He also stated that digitisation impacts all processes, citing real-life instances. Mr Harishankar explained product lifecycle management, end-to-end supply chain digitization, blockchain utilization, digitalizing sales and distribution, efficient ways of touching millions of consumers, and the digital foundation for agility, data analytics, and partnership ecosystem. He quoted, “Supply chain planning has always been the holy grail for any FMCG/CPG.”
Audience had opportunity to hear Mr. Srinandan Sundaram as part of a panel discussion where Dheeraj hosted Srinandan. Mr. Srinandan Sundaram holds a track record in customer development and marketing and shared his insights about the transformation of a customer development organization into a high tech- high touch team. Mr. Sundaram shared his experience in successfully transforming HUL’s customer development function, shifting to a technology-driven strategy and data-driven approach to problem-solving. His communication with the audience was engaging, and there was a sense of gratification in the audience’s eyes.
Mr. Dheeraj Arora, CBO ElasticRun shared his experiences in managing multi-category portfolios, which involves the formation of cross-functional teams and the management of stakeholders throughout India, Asia, and Africa. He illustrated where technology has moved the globe and how the FMCG business is making efficient use of it through various real-life instances. He emphasized how innovation has enabled last-mile delivery, reaching out to key locations, which was previously unattainable. He added that technology-enabled logistics also assists the brands with data points to understand the customer expectations better which helps them to design better products.
Each team got the opportunity to present their final solution and walk the jury through their approach and demonstrate the working prototype of the problem they worked upon. The approach and ideas of each team toward solving the hackathon problems was magnificent, and it was challenging for the jury to decide the winners. The winners were scored on 5 parameters- completeness of the solution, innovation in the thought process, presentation of the solution and answering questions from the jury satisfactorily.
Towards the end of the event, Mr. Saurabh Nigam, Co-founder and COO of ElasticRun shared his experience and appreciated each team’s skills and effort toward solving the problems given during the hackathon. Mr. Nigam has vast expertise in establishing an India-first distribution engine for leading FMCG brands. He spoke about redesigning, reimagining and rebuilding the supply chain pipelines that have been broken for years and role of tech in the same. The gap between businesses’s ability to reach urban areas versus rural areas can be bridged by deploying technology to aggregate the idle capacity of manpower, spaces and vehicles and setting up an aggregated logistics network.
At the culmination, winning teams were announced. The winners of the event were felicitated by Mr. Saurabh Nigam and Mr. Sandeep Deshmukh, along with the jury.
- The winning team was Team ‘Pixels’ (Santh Kumar Tadi, Harishankar Durairaj, Gokul Nath, Abusheik A and Ram Kumar),
- first runner up- Team TranZform (Tushar Bodhale) and
- second runner up- Team ‘Techies’ (Maitri Vibhute, Poonam Nayakodi and Rewa Wader).
- Teams ‘The Strangers’ (Dommala Siddartha, Akram Sheriff, Lakshmi Mohan, Parthiban M and Parameswaran P) and ‘TikkiTakka’ (Jino Rohit) also received special mention prizes.
Each team was ecstatic while sharing their experiences throughout the process and appreciated the opportunity to participate and showcase their innovative solutions. #Possibilities Hackathon was a representative of what technology can do to solve real world problems and it resonates with what ElasticRun believes in- Building a network of possibilities, building a network of opportunities.
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