In Phase – 1 of the hackathon you identified a critical problem that you will address by innovating an effective and sustainable solution. Please refine and review your problem statement. An accurate and precise problem statement is the starting point for solution development. If your problem statement is too broad or vague, your solution will not be effective and will not create the intended impact.
Phase – 2 Solution Definition and Design – We recommend that you look at the following aspects of your solution in Phase-2. At the end of this Phase, your submissions should touch up on all these aspects.
In every step in Phase 2, the team should do a sort of retrospection to see if the Product or Solution Specification, Architecture Design, Implementation Strategy & Testing is in sync with the Problem Definition and applicable to the target customer.
Product or Solution Specification
We recommend that you start with documenting your product or solution specification. The product of solution specification is the document that captures all the functionality and features that the product of solution provides. It describes all the operational modes and establishes the performance metrics for your product or solution. You will need to submit a product/solution spec at the end of this Phase as a part of your required submissions to qualify for the next Phase of the hackathon.
The problem definition should be crip and should clearly mention what is the problem you are trying to solve, value (benefits) expected to the end customer. This area should reflect Empathize and Define stages in the Design Thinking Process.
By studying your product of solution specification, one should be able to tell if your solution indeed solves the problem that you have chosen in Phase-1.
Architecture and Microarchitecture Design
Establish the high-level architecture of your product or solution. This involves determining the Hardware and Software partitions (which functions will be implemented in hardware/firmware and which functions will be implemented in high level Software). Ideally, this step should result in a high-level functional block diagram of your product or solution, identifying all sub-components, both in HW and SW.
Further, you will need to work out the details of the functions each block will perform, the communications between the sub-blocks, as well as all the input requirements and output generation for successful operation.
You may also want to understand the internal timing aspects of the design, so that successful communication between sub-blocks, between HW/SW and the external world is established for robust solution performance. If this is required for your design a high-level timing diagram will be useful.
How will you implement your solution? What off the shelf hardware can you use? Which HW sections will you need to design yourself? How will you design the HW? Which available SW platforms will you use? Which SW components will you develop yourself? What methodology will you use to schedule and track your design development?
These are aspects that you as a team should plan out in detail before embarking on Phase-3.
Theoretical Design of the Product or Solution
Once your detailed design is done, you will need to analyze its performance. Will it operate like you think it will? How do you theoretically check this? Will it meet its performance goals? How do you analyze this to ensure that your implementation will indeed work as you designed it?
The output of this activity is a report that cross checks the design functionality against the product specification, and also does performance projection for your solution.
Design Validation & Performance Analysis and Projection
How are you going to test the functionality and performance of your design? The output of this analysis will be a product or solution test and validation plan. Testing is to ensure that all components of your design function as they should under all operating conditions. Validation is to ensure that the solution works in its operating environment (real world) like it has been designed to. What are the extreme conditions that you will face? Will your solution hold up?
Phase-2 Outputs for Submission
At the end of Phase-2, we expect all teams to submit the following documents:
- Refined Problem Statement (If you think your old statement is fine, just resubmit it).
- Product/Solution Specification – should include at least the following:
- All primary Inputs monitored or Data ingested
- All primary outputs generated: Data, Control, Communication, etc
- All functions performed by the product or solution
- Operating conditions within with the product or solution will operate
- Performance targets for this solution (You have to figure out how you define good performance for your own Product or solution).
- Architecture block diagram and high level description. This should say what off the shelf components you plan to use (HW or SW), and which components you will develop Should also state how you will integrate everything together and what external communication links you will need to use, if any.
- Validation Plan – How will you check that your solution or product works like you have specified it? What resources will you need to do the test or validation?