Case Western Reserve and Goodyear host national hackathon


As countless industries seek to define and shape the future of transportation, a multinational manufacturer is turning to graduate students for ideas.

Hosting a hackathon centered on one question—“How does Goodyear make a play beyond tires?”—the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University is again teaming with the Fortune 500 company for the third annual Goodyear Innovation Challenge.

U.S.-based business or design graduate students are invited to submit a proposal by Oct. 12. First-, second- and third-place winners of the Nov. 8-9 hackathon will receive $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000, respectively. Participants may be asked to interview for positions at Goodyear, according to the company.

“We take the rubber tire for granted,” said Youngjin Yoo, the Elizabeth M. and William C. Treuhaft Professorship in Entrepreneurship at the Weatherhead School in Cleveland. “However, the rubber tire is relatively young, given the history of human transportation—and it might not serve a central role in our transportation forever.

“The fresh perspectives students offer are perfect to consider what’s next,” said Yoo, Case Western Reserve’s coordinator of the competition.

Teams of up to five students are asked to define challenges facing Goodyear, while identifying the needs of its future target customers and areas of opportunity. By Oct. 18, a jury of Northeast Ohio business leaders will pick the top five proposals based on creative problem solving, a compelling user-centered point of view, and a viable business case behind their idea.

Finalists will be invited to compete in the hackathon at the university’s world-class innovation space, the Larry Sears and Sally Zlotnick Sears think[box]. With the facility’s 3D printers, laser cutters, collaboration spaces and other resources, finalists will bring their ideas to life by creating physical prototypes and competing in a pitch competition.

Founded in 1898 and based in Akron, Ohio, Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire manufacturers, employing about 64,000 people at 48 facilities in 22 countries. The competition is being facilitated by the Goodyear Innovation Lab.

According to the company, the “beyond tires” theme comes from the idea that transportation is moving toward a shared mobility model—where more people use ride sharing services instead of personal vehicles, which distances these consumers from purchasing tires. Given this possible future, Goodyear is interested in seeing how can continue to leverage its positive brand legacy.

“Companies are constantly looking for new areas of growth. Goodyear is not an exception, and part of the company must be thinking about anything but tires,” Yoo said. “This contest allows students to build relationships with a proven company, as it’s eager to find new talent.”

(From The Daily 9/21/2018)