Kone, YIT, Neste: Hacking the industry

As the Creative Lead of an IT company, Nortal, I took part in several innovation competitions called hackathons, which went quite swimmingly.

The three most significant hacks were for Finnish industrial companies Kone, YIT and Neste (the phenomenal Neste case now in its own post), who set up their own public hackathons to foster the development and design of their services.

1. Kone – Demobooster

In 2016 in the Demobooster hackathon in Tampere, Kone, the Finnish elevator company (or as they call themselves, a People Flow company) was looking for a new way to visualize floor plans and how people move about on a two-dimensional surface. This would be useful for them to see how people move around in a lobby, how long they have to wait for their elevators or if some hotspots in an office are in too heavy use. The solution also had to be compatible with their new IBM Bluemix cloud platform.

Our idea for Kone was based on cartograms, which allow you see a lot of data at a single glance. The below picture for example show countries of the world according to their GDP.


Applied to floor plans, you can see which areas of a floor are in heavy use, where people dwell the longest and what needs attention. Our demo proposal, which I am presenting in the below image, won the hackathon.KONE_Demobooster_Nortal-kuvaaja_Juha_Virko.jpg

2. YIT – Hack the Living

YIT, the largest construction company in Finland and IndustryHack organized an innovation competition in 2017 called Hack the Living for their residential services. Our team focused on the contemporary pressure of maintaining a healthy balance between work and leisure. Our solution, dubbed YITHUB, proposed a way to invigorate communities and add value to their properties through a concept that benefits everyone living in the vicinity of YIT’s buildings.


A clear emotional need backed up with a sound value-adding model is the stuff good hacks are made of. I condensed our approach to hackathons in a blog post on Nortal’s site: Four hints on hacking the hackathon.

YIT_HackTheLiving_Nortal_kuvaaja_Erik_Mashkilleyson_large-1024x768.jpgEach one of these cases couldn’t have been done without great teams. Way to go us!