Hack the Planet

In collaboration with BearingPoint, one of our participants of 2016 share the journey of their idea and how their participation in the Philips Innovation Award helped them to realize their goals. Have a look!

Working as an engineer is fun: writing software, designing apps and games, playing with drones… However, at some point, one might start wondering: could I use these skills for a larger purpose? That’s when we started wondering what may happen if we use drones to protect animals in one of the national parks in Zambia that we once visited…
There we were, three enthusiastic guys with a dream and a drone. In our minds, we were already in the Zambian wilderness, where we were planning to help rangers get hold of elephant poachers. We called our team Hack The Planet, and our anti-poaching project was coined SkyHawQ - referring to the creative tech company where we worked: Q42, a creative digital agency (or, as they like to call it themselves, a ‘happy place for nerds’).
Hack The Planet today works with a wide range of (charity) organizations to do high-impact projects using pragmatic technology. Apart from impact projects for such customers, we initiate our own projects as well: we created a VR platform for elderly care (EldersVR), are running an alternative anti-poaching project (Hack The Poacher), and are developing a self-driving robot with a large number of use-cases (GroundHawQ).
Back to SkyHawQ, the anti-poaching drone with which we wanted to secure Zambian national parks. We realized that merely ‘helping’ is not what entrepreneurship is about: where value is created, is must be captured! However, a viable business model in the anti-poaching segment had never been achieved yet. Thus, we got in touch with Zambian and Dutch experts and constructed our own creative way of getting our whole story right - from logistics to financials. The plan proved to make sufficient sense for a ticket to the Philips Innovation Award ’16 as an Innovator.
At the event itself, our pitch and prototype led to bursts of enthusiasm. We went home with a giant list of valuable contacts, and with the Public’s Choice Award. The latter provided us with a session at the office of BearingPoint - a centre of business expertise - to discuss the future of Hack The Planet and Project SkyHawQ. Clearly, the session gave our growth stage a substantial kickstart. Indeed, it is remarkably valuable to put your business ideas in perspective and to defend them in a problem-solving atmosphere. Moreover, we learned the importance of being ready to ‘kill your puppies’ (getting rid of earlier ideas) and simply test a new scenario to run the business. As a result, we still tweak our business model continuously and define new scenarios to test. Everything with the large goal in mind: maximizing impact.
Curious to know what we’re doing right now? Check out our website and Facebook!