Imagine for a moment you work at Coca-Cola Amatil’s distribution headquarters. Everyday a fully-digitised supply chain feeds you a constant stream of data. 

How do you make sense of it all?

As part of the COCA-COLA Firehose Big Data Startup competition, partnered by Pollenizer, 12 teams were asked to spend a weekend doing exactly that: finding new and creative ways to use this relentless supply of data.

“It’s the first time ever we’ve made the supply chain data available for the public to use and build business ideas from,” said Franki Chamaki, co-founder of Coca-Cola Accelerator at Coca-Cola South Pacific and one of the Firehose judges.

This so-called “firehose of data” was the basis for teams to solve real-life problems found in Coca-Cola Amatil’s supply chain – the process of moving product from manufacturing, to warehouses and out to the customer.

On the final day all 12 teams were given three minutes to pitch their ideas. Judges evaluated each project based on how the data was used; how ideas were validated; how unique the idea was and how well the team had executed their demonstration.

First prize was awarded to Auto-Ordered, an app that uses past ordering data to automatically order stock for retail customers and provide insight into stock levels. 

Big Data Dynamix, an app which turns unstructured data into real time insights to help delivery drivers make best use of their time was named runner-up.

While the People’s Choice Award, which was voted on through Twitter, was awarded to CokePass; a system designed to solve cash handling issues using prepaid cards and QR codes.

“In addition to these three startups, Coca-Cola Amatil was so impressed by some of the other ideas, they’ve invited them to come and pitch to key employees,” said Franki. “It’s an opportunity to get Coca-Cola Amatil staff involved and provide further mentoring.”

The competition also forced participants and Coca-Cola Amatil employees to look at old problems in new, more entrepreneurial ways.

“During the competition people’s language started changing – it all became ‘doable’”, explained Franki. “There’s a change in mindset: a sense of curiosity, of challenging the status quo, creative restlessness. These events reinforce a new way of doing business.”

The event was so successful at generating new ideas, Coca-Cola is keen to organise more – so watch this space.