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Last night Hub Culture Pavilion, a workspace and event venue in Central London was a battleground for four teams of mobile developers duking it out at our inaugural Mobile Apps Smackdown.

In participation with Cartoon Network, we invited teams to rapidly prototype a mobile app for two of the channel’s most popular series, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and Chowder.

To organise Smackdown we wanted someone with access to London mobile scenesters of all stripes – the creatives, the suits, and the geeks.

The Realtime Project tapped mobile networking maestro, Sarah Longhurst, Product Manager for Web and Mobile at Wozzon and Mobile Lead for Tepilo to help us make it happen.

James Whitmarsh (Turner’s European Mobile Product Manager) provided the briefs designed to guide the groups in their efforts yet open enough to encourage creativity in the use of the characters, associated assets, and the use of the mobile platform to engage kids.

Participating teams were FoxLand, a Soho-based digital design agency, Feral Four (a reunion of the team behind Shozu all now working in different gigs around London), location-based mobile platform and apps developers, Rippll, and an ad-hoc team spearheaded on the spot by Wieden + Kennedy’s Alex Franklin, and including other members from Nokia and Your Studio.

With the clock ticking down the teams quickly rolled up to sleeves and went to work with flip charts, markers, scissors, post-it-notes, rudimentary cut-outs of touch screen handsets, and cartoon character graphics, and one or two laptops as well.

The stakes were high. Not only were they out to impress our Dragons Den-worthy judging panel: Story Worldwide Exec Creative Director, Paul Alexandrou, Enders’ media and tech analyst Benedict Evans, veteran tech entrepreneur, Damon Oldcorn, and 1000 Heads’ James Whatley. But also, the winning team would walk away with a £500 cash prize. Not bad for 45 minutes of work!

The results: FoxLand’s ‘Food Fight’ app (the ultimate Grand Prize winner) designed to encourage kids to try new foods, was grounded in their personal experiences as parents of young children, while Rippll’s augmented reality app (yes, they designed it in the 45 minutes) enabled kids to transform their real-world environments into a playground full of imaginary characters.

The Wild Card team got high marks for their app designed to teach kids a range of early learning skills and for a strong strategy for building essential awareness amongst mums by securing a cornerstone marketing and distribution partnership. Feral Four’s app (our People’s Choice winner) spoke imaginatively to engaging kids one-on-one with a virtual friend who guides them through different levels of educational and learning challenges.

What impressed us most: the energy, the creativity, and the sheer enthusiasm of really smart people focused on a task. The holistic thinking of these teams – not only presenting solutions that showcased the technology, but also solved real world problems for parents, delivered fun and learning for kids, and provided compelling and interactive brand extensions for Cartoon Network’s content.

Judges and jury agreed: the end results of these realtime collaborations were practically ready for primetime!

We’ll be smacking down again in the coming months, and we’d love to see you all there. In the meantime, if you are interested in participating or co-hosting the event with us, please drop a line to kit@therealtimeproject.com

Click here for The Realtime Project’s perspective on aligning mobile apps initiatives with strategic business objectives.

Comments

  • Made by Calum Land on 28/05/10

    Thanks for inviting us to take part – we had a lot of fun! It’s amazing what you can achieve when you mix a little beer with time pressure. All the teams came up with really, really good ideas.

    We were impressed by the calibre of the judges – it added a lot of credibility to the event and really did make you feel like you were on Dragons Den (and no, I’m not singing their praises because we won!).

    There was a friendly rivalry between the teams and a very supportive and appreciative audience, which all made for a great atmosphere I think. What might be good next time is to mix it up and randomly form the teams on the night from the attendees? This would make for a fun networking opportunity if nothing else.

    Thanks again and we can’t wait for the next smackdown!

  • Made by leslie Mello on 30/05/10

    I have to admit, I was dubious at first – but it turned into a great night of brainstorming, presenting and networking. I wish all presentations of new ideas were this fresh and fun. Thanks for the invite and I look forward to the next smackdown! x

  • Made by James Whitmarsh on 02/06/10

    Just a quick note to thank Angela, Kit & Sarah for the opportunity to be involved. I was really impressed with the fresh way each team approached the brief and the creativity shown. I’m seeing Calum and team later in the week to see if we can move their idea forward, and if there’s anyone from Team 1 reading, get in touch because I want to steal one or two of your ideas…

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