Together with talented academic students from Erasmus University, we have recently engaged in an exciting Challenge. This collaboration not only surprised us but also enriched us with new insights, solidly underpinned by scientific research. The Master Challenge has helped us better understand the core of our business, SixBlocks, and discover our ideal market and target group.
We also identified valuable trends to 2030, including investments in software platforms. These we can apply ourselves. But what really touched us were the eye-openers on why organisations often stick to the status quo, despite the desire to change.
In this article, we are happy to share our immersive journey with academic students and the inspiring insights we discovered. These are generally applicable, perhaps also for your own organisation’s growth towards success. The slides included in this article are straight from the students’ final presentation. Read on and be inspired by the unexpected results of the Master Challenge!
Master Challenge is the organisation that, together with Generation-C, offers academic students the chance to carry out challenging real-world assignments. Companies subscribe to the Challenges on offer by introducing their own challenge. These challenges are assessed and selected by student mentors. Student teams can then apply to those remaining challenges. Finally, a matching process takes place between one student team and the company.
In this way, SixBlocks was paired with the student team consisting of Jakub, Dars, Ibrahim and Matilde. The assignment the students were given was in summary:
- name the ideal target group for SixBlocks
- summarise the story to trigger this target group
Naturally, students were given access to all source information and underlying documentation on SixBlocks. Through periodic reconciliation moments, progress and insights were reviewed. The Challenge had the highest priority within SixBlocks. All necessary attention required was given to the students to keep them on track.
The market need for software to support business processes is growing. In 2022, global investment was $ 53 billion. By 2030, it will be more than 2.3 times as much: $ 124 billion. The main reasons for this growth are:
- Covid-19: caused global acceleration in digital transformation
- Transparency: there is a need for more streamlining of processes and improved decision-making
- Cloud: the power of 24/7 availability is increasingly being used
Software to support business processes are broadly divided into e-Commerce, Physical technology and SaaS solutions. Here, e-Commerce is specifically aimed at sales tools for web shops and the like. Physical technology is software that controls hardware, such as a robot or an assembly line. Saas, the abbreviation for Software as a Service, focuses purely on software to support business processes.
Venture capital is financing provided by professional investors or investment companies (venture capitalists) to start-up or growing companies with high growth potential and risk, in exchange for equity stakes in the company. Venture capitalists are increasingly investing in SaaS solutions.
Investment in SaaS has grown to 52% in 2022, compared to 48% in e-Commerce plus Physical technology combined. The level of investment per SaaS solution is also significantly higher compared to e-Commerce plus Physical technology combined: up to $ 15 million versus up to $ 5 million.
It is common knowledge: change is the only constant. However, dealing with change is trickier than it seems. Everyone thinks something and people often have counterarguments. As a result, organisations change very slowly or not at all. The main counterarguments to stick with the old are:
- we want immediate results: logical, but growth requires time and patience
- everyone wants to have a say: participation is important, but can slow down the process
- why change? Things are going well anyway: sure, but innovation is crucial to stay ahead
Understanding and taking these counterarguments seriously is essential for successfully managing change. If organisations are aware of the natural tendency to stick to the known and the familiar, they can proactively develop strategies to overcome these obstacles.
SixBlocks’ platform is a pioneering SaaS solution that is distinguished by an innovative way-of-thinking. Its primary target audience is Business experts, who concretely apply this unique approach by independently modelling business processes with just six blocks: processes, mutations, tables, validations, calculation rules and interfaces – all without the need for IT programming expertise.
The incredible simplicity of these six blocks creates a wealth of space in the minds of Business experts. Every challenge thus becomes a pleasure to tackle. As a result, the Business experts act as inspirers for all employees in the organisation, including (top) management. This makes SixBlocks the smart platform of choice for the durable and extreme simplification of business processes.
SixBlocks did not come out of the blue. It is based on years of successful experience with the way-of-thinking and a beta version of the platform based on the six blocks. Results in large projects, proving the concept in the market and the vision for a strategic market need for simplification were the reasons for starting SixBlocks.
Meanwhile, a Minimum Viable Product (= MVP) of the no-code platform and way-of-thinking has been realised. It is now important to validate this MVP in the market among early adapters. The aim is to interest these organisations to co-create the platform and set up a community around the way-of-thinking.
Long-term knowledge management
The early adapters in the co-creation community around SixBlocks are preferably growing companies. They can be start-ups that are progressing to scale-ups. They can also be established companies that want to professionalise and digitally transform.
Importantly is that innovation, entrepreneurship and inspiring leadership are central to these companies. SixBlocks can help these companies with long-term durable knowledge management. This saves these companies a lot of money and a lot of time. Knowledge management plays a crucial role in co-creation with early adapters. It delivers un-be-liev-able results.
The above describes the students’ final report. It is up to us as SixBlocks what we do with findings and the recommendations. We agree with the findings and have decided to adopt all the recommendations from the final report.
Besides the final report, it is good to mention that SixBlocks has a mutual click with young academic talents. This was evident earlier during technology development and it was again the case in the Master Challenge. A team is always quickly formed that respects, appreciates and inspires each other. In this way, the best ideas emerge and are taken up in concrete terms. In addition, we will definitely follow up with talented students.
We thank Jakub, Dars, Ibrahim and Matilde for their commitment and contribution during this Master Challenge. In addition, our thanks go to the organisations of Master Challenge and Generation-C for their role as mentors.
Want to know more about all the details of the Master Challenge and/or be inspired by the full final report? Then contact firstname.lastname@example.org.