|   USA

Scaling up a legacy hackathon for a global F&B giant

The client, headquartered in New York, entered the Indian market thirty years ago. Since then, it has become the undisputed leader in the food and beverage segment. With a future-forward approach and Mercer | Mettl’s expertise, it was able to lead a successful global student challenge to discover the next big disruption in the food and beverage market.

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Use Case


What the client achieved

A seamless transition to a virtual ideathon platform

Ideathons across 35+ colleges spanning 2 countries

About the Challenge

The client’s ‘Dare To Do More’ challenge is a legacy program to offer the best and brightest students, globally, a platform to bring one big idea to the table. The ideathon challenge typically has a social or environmental element to it, along with a business impact. This year’s theme was ‘innovation.’


An online assessment test was the first stage of the ideathon, taken individually by each team member to qualify for the next stage. A maximum of 50 teams from each country qualified for the next round based on the scores achieved in the assessment round.


The shortlisted teams worked on a PowerPoint presentation (PPT), suggesting a disruptive trend in the food and non-alcoholic beverage market. The idea was marked on its creativity and needed to have a business proposal, financial strategy plan and a strategy for its integration into the client’s current product portfolio. The presentation had to cover an end-to-end product cycle, a go-to marketing strategy and a brief marketing plan.


After the presentation submission, virtual interviews were conducted to shortlist the participants for the virtual country finale with company’s sector leadership team, including the CEO for Africa, The Middle East & South Asia.


Country finalists were required to further develop their idea by adding depth and details, such as investment required, projected revenue, projected return on investment, risks and potential long-term success for the company.


The winning team from each country presented its idea to the company’s sector leadership team. The winning team won an international stint at Dubai and a trip to New York to meet the company’s global leadership.

In any year of this event, I am sure there would be last-minute changes and things we don’t account for, but Mercer | Mettl has given me a lot of confidence to partner with it again. It was never a full-stop conversation; we could always come up with an acceptable solution and were also able to develop a futuristic view of the platform for upcoming editions. Mercer | Mettl helped us gain a fresh perspective and a better way to look at things.

Business Challenges

The F&B giant has consistently looked to break the wheel with its consumer-friendly products. A rapid change in customer demographics is also altering their lifestyle and consumption choices. To keep up with the changing trends, the company opened the ‘Dare To Do More’ challenge to the global community of students to find that one innovative product or process.


The company wanted to understand the future generation’s outlook, and the direction in which the consumer world was heading, through the course of this challenge. Ultimately, the rationale was to bring the best minds together for idea-sharing and collaboration with the company’s global leadership team and work toward making it a more futuristic brand.


While the ‘Dare To Do More’ challenge is a few years old, the company needed a fresh perspective for the innovation theme – part of it meant breaking away from the erstwhile platform and making way for the new.


It needed a platform to meet the robust nature of the challenge and to address all the inefficiencies of the former platform:

  • The company’s dynamic nature juxtaposed with the former platform’s slow turnaround time – it wanted changes to get ideated and executed swiftly.
  • The innovative theme needed a platform that was synonymous with innovation – A platform that breathed technology and a team ready to take on the challenge.

The company needed an efficient platform to automate some of the internal processes, keep up with its dynamic working environment, and a team that was on the same page as the its planning. Since the young student community played an active role in the challenge, the company needed a flexible platform that could accommodate the changing needs of the virtual event.


Mercer | Mettl had already been a great assessment partner to the F&B giant. Thus, it was easy to trust Mercer | Mettl’s ideathon platform, team and technological prowess.


Xathon, Mercer | Mettl’s online hackathon and ideathon management platform, was the perfect solution to conduct the ‘Dare To Do More’ challenge. Mercer | Mettl’s team engaged in an open dialogue with the client to understand its requirements and customization needs.


The client’s ‘Dare To Do More’ challenge was spread across two countries, consisting of 5000+ students and 35+ colleges.


It needed a stable platform with varied features to propel automation and an in-depth data analysis to execute the event at such a scale. Data analytics was the most significant pain-point for the client, and Xathon managed to stand out among the benchmarks laid out by the company. Xathon’s ability to capture data in real-time and present it in a visually appealing format was one of the high points of the partnership between Mercer | Mettl and the client.


The customization of features provided by Mercer | Mettl empowered the client to understand the system’s capabilities. Mercer | Mettl’s team catered to all last-minute changes and offered additional customizations on-the-go with a quick turnaround time as the competition shaped up, and unanticipated requirements sprang up.


Mercer | Mettl’s Xathon helped the client at every stage of the virtual challenge:


  • Creation of website and the event page.
  • Marketing support through emails and SMSs.
  • Customization and white-labeling of emails.
  • Easy integration with existing assessments.

During the event

  • Mass upload of candidate data.
  • Quick scheduling of tasks and stages on a single dashboard.
  • Seamless collaboration among multiple stakeholders – organizers, participants and judges.
  • Submissions management to track all submissions, scores and status.
  • Leadership board to get live updates of the progress of the challenge.
  • 24×7 support and the provision of basic training for people using the platform for the first time.
  • A dedicated team of professionals to make the event a success.


  • Data analytics to uncover a reservoir of highly vital information.

Xathon provided the perfect mix of an easy-to-use platform and a goal-focused team to help the client execute a successful event. The platform enabled participants to generate ideas and build prototypes in a customizable environment. The client was able to invite thousands of participants without worrying about the logistical hassles.


In any partnership like this, which is long-term, which is a process still in development, it is important to have an open dialogue about what we want versus what we can get in the time at hand. Mercer | Mettl gave us tremendous confidence in this respect. We were very satisfied and comfortable working with Mercer | Mettl. Great turnaround time, great communication when delivering on their commitments. I really appreciate their presence of mind and support.

The Impact

  • The F&B giant’s ‘Dare To Do More’ challenge was successfully and seamlessly conducted in two countries, involving upward of 5000 students and 35 colleges.
  • Mercer | Mettl’s strong analytical prowess put data into the hands of the client’s internal stakeholders, giving them a real-time talent gradient and a snapshot of the rich insights, such as college split, diversity bifurcation, age-group ratio, performance snapshots, etc.
  • Where several processes were still conducted offline, Mercer | Mettl brought about a behavioral change and empowered it by digitizing and automating its processes.

Way forward


A mutual passion for innovation bought the global F&B giant and Mercer | Mettl together on a successful journey. For the upcoming editions of the challenge, the client wanted to start the conversations well in advance to leverage the platform to its full potential.

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