Sherwin Williams and Blackstone LaunchPad Co-sponsor Hackathon

In the spring of 2015, Victoria Scarborough, program director of the External Technology Global Resource Team for Fortune 500 Company Sherwin Williams, expressed interest in sponsoring an event at Kent State University that could capture some of the creativity that she had witnessed as a judge at the Fashion/Tech Hackathon. 

Working with Blackstone LaunchPad, Scarborough’s vision became reality on Nov. 14 when about 40 students from around Northeast Ohio came to Kent State to learn about and improve the painting process. “Innov8athon IV: Innov8 Paint!” was developed as a way to introduce students to ways to apply innovative thinking in real-world situations.

The all-day event included students, representing a variety of majors from three local campuses, who all presented innovative new solutions to key pain points in the industry. Ten groups presented solutions for one or two major problems outlined by the Sherwin Williams team that morning. Ideas included everything from apps to new approaches to paint tool storage and redesigned applicators.

A team of judges from Sherwin Williams awarded one group $2,000 for their novel roller design, and two other groups won $500 each. 

The Kent State Blackstone LaunchPad team organized and led the day’s activities, which helped students become industry experts by diving deeply into a particular subject area in order to think entrepreneurially about specific pain points and come up with creative solutions in a team environment.

Julie Messing, executive director for Blackstone LaunchPad at Kent State, and one of the organizers of the event, was impressed with the range of product ideas that were presented.

“We were excited to be able to draw on our experience as an innovation hub to bring together students from across multiple disciplines and campuses to collaborate with a corporate innovation leader,” Messing says.

Blackstone LaunchPad (soon to be LaunchNET Kent State, effective Jan. 1, 2016) welcomes the opportunity to partner with other departments across campus to bring together corporate and community leaders with Kent State students for unique and exciting experiences that benefit all involved.