Since establishing an Innovation outpost at Volta in August, Atlantic Lottery Corporation has been winning at the innovation game – with outside-the-box ideas coming fast and furious that are helping them change the landscape of lottery.
In the last nine months, Scott Burke, outpost lead and serial tech founder and developer, has assembled a multi-talented team of designers and developers, capable of creating top quality prototypes from scratch.
“Since we last spoke, we’ve put together an incredible team. We’ve got two developers and one designer and between the three of them, we can build anything,” Burke says.
“Jon Burke brings a truckload of agency experience and multidisciplinary media experience to the Outpost team. Not only is he an extremely talented graphic and web designer, he also is an expert photographer and videographer, and has put together projects for major corporate brands as well as independent shops and regional musicians. Jon has absolutely no ego about his work and has an incredible eagerness to step back from it, be critical, seek feedback and implement it. His combination of skill and positive attitude makes him a joy to work with.”
“Christian DeWolf specializes in server-side development and DevOps, and brings his experience as CTO of athlete crowdfunding startup Pursu.it to the lab’s projects. Not only does he know how to make a Ruby on Rails stack sing, he also writes robot-related fiction, and his English degree comes very much in handy when it’s time to write snappy and engaging web copy. Christian has a very strategic mindset and is committed to building things the right way from the start, which is invaluable as you move along in a project and the right decisions made earlier make changes easier and prevent unnecessary ‘technical debt’.”
First Project: Winvelope
“When it comes to corporate innovation, I think it’s important to avoid ‘innovation theater’ and actually put products in market,” Burke says.
And his team is doing just that. Their first project is Winvelope, a monthly scratch ticket subscription service from Atlantic Lottery.
“Subscription boxes are a market segment that has grown wildly in recent years, and we’re experimenting with that delivery method and unboxing experience to put a new spin on a traditional product,” he explains. “Our research shows that Winvelope appeals to a younger demographic, and fits in with the ‘what you want, when you want it, how you want it’ desires of today’s customers.”
They have held three successful hackathons in partnership with Volta, designed to engage the community and blue-sky potential products for ALC. The second hackathon focused on Smart Home Revolution, and the winning team presented the world’s first toast printer lottery, kitchen scale lottery, and encrypted smart key lottery.
Their third hackathon focused on design with a specific challenge: design a better scratch ticket.
Registration is open for their fourth Hackathon now. The theme? Creating lottery games that can be played together.
A Changing Culture
Creating an Innovation Outpost was the next logical step for a company with a wave of culture shift already underway. ALC’s management value innovation and many employees are already taking on lean startup principles.
“It’s great to have support for innovation from the highest levels of the company, which is really what you need to have in order to do the work of corporate innovation, especially in a tightly regulated business such as ours. I think our impact so far has been that we’ve shown how quickly we can move and create a high-quality offering when we approach a project in a different way, with a small, highly-skilled team and agile development methodologies,” Burke explains.
“Because of the nature and scope of some of our enterprise projects at head office, not everyone can operate exactly the same way we do, but I hope that we’re demonstrating possibilities in terms of how projects can be approached and executed on the frontier.”
He’s hoping these new ways to work will inspire colleagues at ALC even further and push the boundaries of what is possible.
The outpost team has had the chance to meet other project teams within ALC and share their learnings, an exercise that gives value to their team and the corporation as a whole.
Community of Creators
Volta’s unique collaborative community has been helping the outpost team make connections and share new ideas.
“Volta is an incredible community, both on a personal level and as an ecosystem for starting and scaling a tech venture,” Burke praises. “I’ve been consistently impressed by the calibre of people I’ve encountered and their openness to help each other. From hallway conversations to hackathons to other community events, Volta is a constant source of new contacts, relationships, and we’re constantly sharing information and the latest tools and techniques with other companies.”
The Atlantic Lottery Outpost is now looking to grow their team and continue bringing new ideas that will change the landscape of lottery.
One thing is for sure, the combination of strong enterprise-scale resources with agile, startup thinking is certainly a winning one.
Also published on Medium.