Key Takeaways

  • Utilising a different approach to development through the App Hot House, enabled agile development of mobile apps for Transport for NSW (TfNSW) and its customers.
  • Open and clear communication, a high energy environment and active facilitation are critical to the success of open innovation events.
  • Open innovation allows businesses to solve existing customer problems, operational and efficiency issues as well as engage directly with members of their own community.

In direct response to customer demand, TfNSW worked with our Digital Change team to identify the best developers and bring a range of real time bus apps to life.

In order to make best use of the available data and facilitate rapid development of these apps, TfNSW hosted an App Hot House facilitated by our Digital Change team.

The competition drew some of Australia’s finest digital minds to battle it out and gave five winning applicants the opportunity to have their apps developed and used by TfNSW customers.

The Challenge

Over the two day App Hot House teams worked with a GTFS and API feed that delivered real time bus information. The challenge posed to the teams was to create prototypes of consumer-products for mobile phones, which they had to pitch to a panel of judges including TfNSW, industry experts and PwC’s Digital Change team.

Crucial to the challenge, was each team’s ability to illustrate how its business model would enhance customer’s travel experience and demonstration of their ability to execute the proposed idea.

The winning teams were competing to receive:

  • First access to the real time information
  • The opportunity to collaborate with TfNSW stakeholders
  • Promotional support from TfNSW for their apps

What we learned on this journey?

This process saw TfNSW embrace a new style of working, namely ‘open innovation’ to accelerate and solve an immediate customer pain.

The open innovation approach requires management to appreciate that good ideas do not just generate from top-down within an organisation, but can also come from the bottom-up and even from outside the organisation (from its customers and other stakeholders).

PwC took steps to ensure that the structure of the competition, the process and the communication would develop a culture of collaboration between all participants. The design of open and clear communication channels was critical and we actively facilitated both days of the event.

Through this journey, it was clear that the attitude of all stakeholders is critical for collaboration. An upfront approach between TfNSW and developers meant that each party could work ‘hand-in-hand’ to get the most out of the relationship.

The real time benefits for consumers

Five winners were selected by a judging panel, of which three winners (TripView, TripGo and Arrivo Sydney) now have their products ready in the market. The apps contain real-time data spanning some 8,200 stops, more than 1,900 buses and almost 1,200 routes across the Sydney Bus Network.

“Having real time information is a game-changer when it comes to public transport,” commented Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian. In a press release she said, ‘customers wanted real time public transport information and the three apps being released were just the beginning of the NSW Government’s plans to provide it’.