By Susan Sims | Posted: Monday December 19, 2016
Ethan Fisher’s moment of Audacious inspiration came to him on a skifield.
Accidently separated from his friends, one of whom had crashed, he
wished he had an app that would help him locate and stay in touch with
individuals spread across the mountain – then realised there was a
business opportunity within his predicament.
Discussions with friends developed into an Audacious business concept for “Chur,” a mobile application for improving user experiences at ski fields, music festivals and events. A custom version for each individual mountain or event is built onto an app platform, with features including dynamic mapping, group communication and a social feed.
Preparing a business plan through the strategic design paper at the University of Otago and a pitch through taking part in the Challenge forced him to crystalise his good idea and get it down on paper. “Without that discipline of getting it into a business framework it would have just been idea; the Challenge helped to take what was just in my mind to a whole new level.”
Validating the idea with peers, educators and then with judges motivated his team even more. Now he is seeking validation from people in the ski field and music festival industry.
The resulting efforts were recognised by the Audacious Challenge, with Ethan and teammates Ben Auton and Grant Bracey-Brown gaining third place.
Ethan, who has now completed a BA in Design for Technology was thrilled with the result. “I had the whole semester to focus on the last of my last design studies and I wanted to leave with something I was proud of. But at the same time I was feeling frustrated because entering Audacious was a compulsory part of the paper I was doing, and initially I didn’t have any workable concepts.”
“Then when the idea did come it became crystal clear, and I was immediately passionate about it. So while pitching in the Dragon’s Den was definitely nerve racking, it turned out wasn’t hard to talk about it and fire back answers because I knew the concept so well by then.”
Ethan’s now heading into the biggest uncertainty of his life so far, but sees Chur as too much of a good opportunity to just pass by, so will be looking at the details of how to make the idea a commercial reality.
“It’s been a really interesting time. I’m now looking at design from more of a business point of view so it’s now given me a fresh sense of what I want to do; it’s changed my career focus.”