2017 Kohler Hackathon: Who Are the Winners?

On November 17-18, 35 bright young students from China’s top design schools gathered at the Kohler Design Experience Center to compete in the 2017 Kohler Hackathon, where they were challenged to re-invent the bathroom experience for the Chinese elderly. The six student teams are from China’s leading design schools – China Academy of Art, Tongji University, Donghua University and Shanghai Institute of Visual Art. They were selected from over 40 teams who applied initially, and went through 1-month training and field research prior to the Hackathon weekend.

Event Background

In 2016, 30.2% of the permanent population in Shanghai is above the age of 60 (Xinhuanet). It is also estimated that the number of elderly will overtake the number of youths in China around 2020.

Aging has become one of the biggest challenges to the quickly urbanizing China. Not only is the government struggling to provide enough beds for senior citizens in public hospitals and senior houses, the labor market is faced with a quickly greying workforce. On the other side of the story, there is a huge market potential for products and services targeting this community. Studies have shown that the elderly in China today are much more willing to spend money on traveling and shopping, and most them have access to technology.

As a world leading bathroom brand, Kohler has spent many years studying the bathroom experience of the elderly, and have successfully launched several elderly-friendly bathroom products to meet their wants and needs.


Also presenting were 18 mentors from Kohler and other leading design firms.

We were honored to have 5 distinguished judges:

Let’s look back at what happened during the exciting 24 hours!

Day One, 06:00 pm

Kohler Hackathon 1Jack Feng, Director of Fixtures Engineering, K&B China, Kohler gave a welcome speech, speaking highly of students and mentors’ arduous work over the past month.

Kohler Hackathon 2

Students and mentors sharing moments of the month-long experience.

Kohler Hackathon 3

Students explaining design concepts to mentors.

Kohler Hackathon 4

Mentors working with students to improve details.

Kohler Hackathon 5

Teams brainstorming with mentors in individual rooms.

10:00 pm


Bathtubs & inspirations

Kohler Hackathon 6

Building prototypes from scratch

Keep optimizing solutions

01:00 am

Searching for inspiration

Till the last minute

Taking a break

DAY 2, 08:00 am

Street interviews

04:00 pm

Teams doing 10 min presentation & 3 min Q&A

Making full use of every minute of the presentation!

Kohler Hackathon 6

Judges from Kohler and WeCare WC carefully scoring teams’ proposals based on:
• User journey map
• Quality of solution
• Feasibility of idea
• Presentation quality

After rounds of heated discussions, the judges decided on the following winners:
1st Prize: Shanghai Institute of Visual Art, Obsidian
2nd Prize: China Academy of Art, Homie Five
3rd Prize: Donghua University, Yinfa Guardians

Kohler Hackathon 7

Team Obsidian, Mentors:Jordan Meyers, Steven Zhang, Jack Niu

Kohler Hackathon 8

Team Homie Five, Mentors: Kenny Zhang, Jenny Fang, Amy Ly

Kohler Hackathon 9

Team Yinfa Guardians, Mentors: Sophie Gu, Yan Yang, Amy Ly

Congratulations to winners! A big shout out to the other three teams from Tongji University and China Academy of Art for their impressive performance.

Not only were the 6 teams offered Kohler internship opportunities, the winners were granted the chance to go directly to the group interview round in Kohler’s Management Trainee program. Meanwhile, all solutions will be presented to Kohler’s global office, with the potential of further commercialization.

Kohler Hackathon 10

Thanks everyone for the splendid work!

If you are interested in learning more about student hackathons, please contact us

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