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Are you a Public Transport user (especially in Victoria)? Do you use an app to help you with your journey? If so, how useful is it? Have your own ideas about how these apps could be more useful in terms of creating a winning customer experience for you?

These were the types of questions we asked our community of collaborators for ‘VicTripathon’, a program of collaborative activity which Collabforge consortium co-designed and delivered on behalf of Public Transport Victoria to create 3 public transport apps for Victorians.

Over the past few years PTV has gradually made available open data sets and APIs around a lot of its network data e.g. routes, timetabling, accessibility information. Most recently PTV released its first set of real-time data for tram and some bus routes. The value in this data could be unlocked if it was used to create digital products that was accessible by the broader public transport community to help them in their regular public transport journeys and indeed their overall travelling experience.

This presented two key collaboration and innovation challenges for PTV:

  1. How to engage the participation of and contribution from a diverse enough community of stakeholders?
  2. How could PTV – a generally risk-averse organisation with a high degree of bureaucracy – undertake such an innovative and risky program of work?

Collabforge was engaged by PTV to help address these challenges in order to create 3 new, or greatly improved, market-ready apps using PTV’s open data and APIs.

In order to address these challenges, Collabforge mobilised a consortium of the following organisations who collectively provided the experience, knowledge, capability and networks to help achieve the vision for Victripathon.

In just over 6 weeks, after a Scoping Workshop, an Ideas Sprint, a Media Launch, a 2-day TechJam and a month-long Incubator, 13 market-ready apps were entered into the final judging competition (on 2nd July 2015). Three were then selected as overall winners.

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Some of the key lessons we learned from Victripathon:

  1. Take time as early as possible to co-design the program with a passionate, knowledgeable and influential sample of the overall stakeholder community.
  2. It’s easy to get swept away with the technical development aspect of initiatives like this, but we’ve learned to push even harder next time on:
    1. Taking more time to build real empathy for end users
    2. Broadening the field of creative thinking and ideas early on and involving developers in this process too
    3. Focussing on the commercial aspects of the digital products being developed

Did you participate in Victripathon? If so what was your experience and feedback on the particular events you attended or the overall program?

Have you organised or participated in similar events? What have you learned from your experience?

Are you looking to organise a similar style initiative? We’d love to talk to you!

Read more about Victripathon here

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