It was “Bon Voyage” for the ten members of the winning Feeding Fair hackathon group as they set off last week to present their project, MylBread, at the Up group headquarters in Paris. The team came up with an innovative solution to address dietary habits of the German population, where industrial, nutrient-poor bread is becoming a malnutrition concern. Their project aims to make small scale, nutritionally sound and ingredient diverse bread more easily accessible through integrated online ordering and delivery service, reviving Germany’s culinary heritage in bread making.
The group’s ten members (Alice Bennetts, Christian Bonjardt, Tereza Pleskaeova, Matteo Masotti, Frascesca Di Tella, Antonio Gagliardi, Elena Galli, Danilo Perozzi, Lorenzo Salmi and Leticia Janicsek) come from five different countries, and four joined the MylBread team from our Food Innovation Program. They traveled to Paris on October 15th for an “Innovation Day” to present their proposal to Feeding Fair supporters Up group, a France based organization active in 17 countries and with 50 years of experience supporting innovation and change, primarily combining the fields of social and environmental concerns with economic development.
The group arrived in Paris after almost a month of only sparse virtual communication, eager to reconvene and bring the MylBread project into the next steps. As Lorenzo Salmi points out, up until the 15th, the group had been working toward a “vision of how we want to develop, improve and start our business.” The time in Paris allowed them to once again come together to cement their prototype. Antonio Gagliardi chimed in, “It was a beautiful experience! We met with the MylBread group the night before the official meeting and we passed the night working on refining the project in the best way we could… lots of brainstorming. Then the day after, in the morning, we refined the presentation in a small boulangerie nearby, obviously eating bread.”
Danilo Perozzi shares a bit about those first hours in the magical city: “The experience in Paris was fantastic…unfortunately was only two days! In addition to a trip to the city and through the streets of Montmartre, on the first day we met again to discuss how MylBread can become a concrete project…so we went in depth on economics and logistics. The work was carried out by the whole team (people who come from completely different backgrounds) and has been very intense and productive, allowing us to proceed forward to define throughout the day the possible future of our project.”
After a day of touring and planning (and unforgettable cruise under the Eiffel tower), the team was shuttled to the Up group headquarters where they were welcomed by Up group director of Corporate Communication’s Christine Kotala and CEO of Up Day Marc Buisson. The two spoke of the many projects that Up group is involved in, not only from a malnutrition point of view, but also highlighting the many social innovation ventures they have in the works. A brief film highlighting the impact and missions of hackathons was showcased, and then Food Innovation Program founder Sara Roversi introduced the MylBread team. Says team member and FIP fellow Elena Galli, “I really appreciated the organization of the event itself at the HQ of the company. The presentation was very carefully set up and open for participation to all employees. I was especially pleased by the fact that several board members were aware of the project and were very interested and responsive to the presentation and to the future development of Mylbread.”
Presenting their project the second time around was a completely new experience, since the initial prototyping the group had time to refine their approach. Danilo describes the moments leading up to the presentation as “intense” but felt that it was definitely the most rewarding part of the experience. He adds, “I hope to continue the project with the help of Up group because it is a company that intrigued me a lot. We received a lot of useful feedback for future development of our project, but I had also found inspiration that could be incorporated in a design context outside of the MylBread project.” The project was heartily received by Up group members, and to round out the evening Up group CEO Catherine Coupet gave a big thanks to all for participating. Says Antonio, “We received very strong positive feedback, so we will meet up again in Italy all together to define the next moves.”
It will be exciting to follow our Feeding Fair team as they work from brainstorm, to prototype to product. Elena is already looking forward to the next steps, “For the moment I think the plan is to come together as a group and share our thoughts and opinions for the future, whether we all want to stick with MylBread and what each of our roles could be. After that, we are getting ready to prepare a solid business plan to be presented at the 7th International Forum of the Social and Solidarity Economy Entrepreneurs, in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, at the end of November.” Best of luck to our MylBread team as they move forward in keeping the Feeding Fair mission alive!