Hakeem Javaid met the Innovation Acceleration Group (IAG) in the first Intel’s Make It Wearable Challenge. Hakeem and his team, Blocks, set forth to make a modular smartwatch based on Intel’s Edison Module. The competition invited entrants from 26 countries to create the most innovative wearable products for a $500,000 grand prize. The IAG instructors and mentors pushed these global entrepreneurs to connect deeply with their customers to solve significant problems and rapidly create the best product with a scalable business model. In our Berkeley parlance – to iterate and pivot at the pace of a Silicon Valley startup. By the conclusion of Make It Wearable, Hakeem’s team learned that the conceptual prototype they originally walked in with had to be updated significantly to meet the desires of their customers. “I found myself struggling to define an ideal persona of each customer segment,” Hakeem told me in a Skype interview. “One of my favorite quotes was from Andre’s [Marquis] first lecture. He said something like, ‘It’s good to interact with your customers early on because then your customers are able to help build a product they love.’ Since then, I try to do this with all my products.”
Nearly 2 years later, Hakeem is working on a new project: Omnate. “While I was working on the Make It Wearable competition, I felt a strong desire to give back to my community,” Hakeem shared with me. “I wanted to donate to the most effective charities for each cause I cared about, but I found this task shockingly far from simple.” So what did Hakeem do? He used his entrepreneurship mentality to begin building a platform for people to donate to influential charities, for all the causes they care about, in seconds.
Today, Hakeem is focusing on the act of simplicity and community engagement that his customers desire. “The Innovation Acceleration Group has impacted how I view people and customers. I focus solely on the customer,” Hakeem explains. “By growing a community first, I’ll be able to get to know them and the causes they care about. It’ll not only help form customer segments, but it means they’ll effectively be building the core of the product, one they’ll want to use.” Omnate is expected to be ready for users by Spring 2017. You can join the growing community at: www.omnate.com
The Innovation Acceleration Group is excited to learn that our innovators carry the knowledge they gained from our programs with them forward to solve new, significant business challenges while improving all our lives. If you have any questions or would like to share your story, please contact us.