Haneke Design Challenges USF Students to Mobile Application Design Competition
Jody Haneke, USF professor Anand Kumar, and local companies HSN, Grow Financial and Melitta partner to give Consumer Behavior Theory students chance to design mobile solutions for business
In a class called Consumer Behavior Theory, you might think that much of the learning centers on abstract concepts instead of real world applications. Not so – at least in Professor Anand Kumar’s class. The USF marketing professor teamed up with Jody Haneke, president of Haneke Design, to give his students the chance to develop some of the most in-demand skills sought by marketing departments today: designing applications for consumers who work, shop, and socialize on mobile devices. Last night, nine teams from the Consumer Behavior Theory class presented their mobile application concepts to a panel of five judges and representatives of four companies – multi-channel retailer HSN, Grow Financial, Melitta, and Myskin.com – who contributed business challenges for which the students designed mobile solutions.
“It’s incredible how well Professor Kumar’s students grasped the importance of user experience, practical functionality, and relevant engagement as we went over their assignments,” said Haneke, whose company has designed mobile solutions for companies ranging from Fortune 500 corporations to small businesses. “Most of them use mobile applications on a daily basis, so they already have a sense of what separates their go-to apps from those that are a waste of time. I helped them mesh the client’s business objectives with the consumer’s need for simplicity and utility to develop concepts that yield a win-win for both parties. The judges and company representatives were extremely impressed with the quality of research, attention to process, and alignment with business goals that was evident in the solutions they presented.”
The winning team developed a concept tailored to the criteria set forth by multi-channel retailer HSN. Students on the team included Elizabeth Halenkamp, Jennifer Pelletier, Mayssour Assemar, Rebecca Geiger, and Run Fei Hu.
Professor Kumar recruited the four companies earlier this semester to submit marketing challenges for which his students would devise mobile solutions. Once the assignments were distributed, the teams met with company representatives to ensure that they understood the organization’s business objectives. Haneke then went over the requirements with each team and gave guidance to them as they progressed with their concept development.
The judges were Robert Forsythe, dean of USF College of Business; Jody Haneke; Peter Kageyama, author, For the Love of Cities; Marvin Scaff, founder, Gazelle Labs; and Kyle Schroeder, vice president, Skyway Capital Partners.
Each team had ten minutes to present. The judges were asked to evaluate each team’s presentation on criteria including the relevance of the app in meeting the company’s stated goals, use of research to justify the app’s features, extent to which the mobile offers utility-based functionality, clarity of the presentation, and professionalism.
“All too often, we hear employers bemoaning the fact that they can’t find talent coming out of universities with the skills they require right now, and students lamenting the fact that they have to leave the market to find jobs,” said Haneke. “By collaborating with local universities on projects like these, we hope to strengthen the region’s tech workforce. If we work with professors to give students the skills growing companies like mine need most, we’ll be able to keep more of the great young talent they produce here in Tampa Bay.”