Setting up shop at the Atlantic Lottery Innovation Outpost
Setting up shop at the Atlantic Lottery Innovation Outpost
Passing through the Maritime Centre’s seventh floor entrance, the Atlantic Lottery’s Innovation Outpost is just to the left as you enter Volta. Walk through the lobby’s panoramic galactic mural and you enter a space that’s brimming with possibilities.
The walls of the Outpost are painted in gray scale of ocean scenes, with a map of the four provinces on one side and the colourful Atlantic Lottery’s logo on the other. White, minimal furniture decorates the space in pods. If you didn’t know better, you’d think it was a startup – that’s the point.
We chatted with Scott Burke, the Outpost Lab Lead. He’s been in the new position since July. Scott shared his vision for the Outpost’s upcoming year of prototyping, experimenting and commercializing.
“Perfect marriage of experience, passion and opportunity”
Scott brings a broad spectrum of experiences to the Atlantic Lottery Innovation team. He’s honed his skills in the online gaming, internet marketing, web development, server-side programming and database fields.
“I love innovating in a business context, and applying the latest technology and practices to the problem at hand,” he says. “I have ten years in the online gaming space and a lot of multidisciplinary experience, and a real passion for integrating the fields I’ve been in, as well as business processes.”
“I feel very lucky, happy and excited to have this opportunity to innovate the next generation of products and services for Atlantic Lottery,” Scott explains, “and ultimately give back to the Atlantic Canadian community, especially the business and tech community.”
The Outpost model: Research and community
Scott is leading the first Outpost of its kind in Atlantic Canada. “We’re looking at the overall model of what others are trying to do,” he says. “Innovate, invent, disrupt, incubate and acquire. Not all of these boxes are avenues we’ll pursue in our first sprint of the Outpost, but I’m definitely looking at all of it, and what’s coming out of other Outposts. I’m also looking to leverage as much experience as I can as I connect with more people in the community, too.”
Scott’s first priority is to put together an all-star team and set the Outpost up for success, with the help of Atlantic Lottery and Volta.
Scott, the Outpost Lead is the ‘founder’ and ‘CEO’ of a lab that is all about brainstorming, customer discovery, and rapid prototyping. Understanding what customers want and how to engage a new generation will be top priority before prototyping starts. Volta’s educational events and mentorship will guide the team through business model navigation and the steps to building products with strong value propositions.
At the end of each week the lab lead is encouraged to bounce the newest idea or challenge off the startup founders at Volta, as peer to peer mentorship is key.
Success as a “win-win-win”
Scott outlines the stakeholders involved, and what success would mean to each.
For Atlantic Lottery, he says he wants to see a return on their investment with ideas that can be sent back to their head office, and business lines to help innovate. “The primary goal is to come up with successful products or services; fun, great new products that excite Atlantic Canadians and help drive Atlantic Lottery revenues, of which 100% of profits are returned to the four Atlantic provinces, and reinvested in the community,” he emphasizes.
For Volta, Scott says success means raising awareness, spreading the word about what Volta can offer other household name corporations and inspiring them to explore the Outpost model.
For Scott? “I’ll consider the Outpost a success when we’re able to spin up a team that works effectively together, has fun coming here and at the other end of this experience, has greater domain experience and increased skills,” he explains. “Ultimately we want to give something to our team – every team member should feel like they got something from what they put into the outpost.”
Scott says his team will have a lot on its plate, putting together “a wide range of prototypes and testing them, all within a year.” The Outpost is hiring three people to start: Two developers and one designer.
Scott explains that the criteria includes both skill and attitude. “We expect there will be cross-pollination of skills among those roles. In general terms, we’re looking for full-stack developers, specialized front-end or back-end developers, and a graphic designer who can create the visual identities of websites, products, games, services or in-app assets. We’re looking for passionate, curious people who get excited every day about solving problems and trying new things.”
Going forward: Next month
We’ll be checking in periodically with Scott and the Outpost’s team in the coming months. What’s the goal for next month?
“Number one, we want to crack the talent pool in the region, recruit and hire an A+ team,” says Scott. “Get everyone spun up and begin to work together, and get some early wins. In a month’s time, I hope to have the entire team in place and ready to begin our journey together.”
Scott wanted to share one more thing this month: The tech community can look forward to sponsored events throughout the year. “We’ll be having hackathons and community involvement with opportunities to bring in people to work directly or indirectly with us. University students, developers, designers, people in commerce and business – to extend the opportunities beyond the walls of this Outpost.”
“The community at Volta has been incredibly supportive,” Scott adds. “Atlantic Lottery has been very forward thinking with this Outpost, and we’re hoping to provide some real opportunities for the best and brightest here in development and design in Halifax and the region, help them really shine and take their careers to the next level. We want to be a positive factor in the tech and economic development of the region.”