We are blessed to have some of Indiana’s top business and tech minds on the 2013 SmartFile Platform Bake-Off judging panel. Contestants will have the opportunity to showcase both their new apps and technical talents in front of successful entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders like Kristian Andersen.

As President and Co-Founder of Kristian Andersen + Associates (aka KA+A), a strategic design consultancy based in Indianapolis, Kristian and his talented team deliver compelling brand experiences, create new business models, pioneer new products/services, and solve complex business challenges with comprehensive designs from idea to enterprise.

We could go on and on about Kristian’s solid track record and keen eye for innovation, but we figured a quick “Q&A” session would be a nice way for you to get to know him a little better…

So, Kristian, what are you most excited about as a member of the judging panel?

The coolest part of my job as a judge is the visibility it provides me into “what’s next.” It’s almost like having a crystal ball. I get to see innovation at the ground floor and be in proximity to some of the brightest folks on the planet. If I am able, I’ll always jump at the opportunity to sit in a room with a group of innovators and problem solvers. It’s the fastest way to get smarter!

KA+A focuses on creating and aligning brands, products, and services for max. value creation.

How do you inspire those around you to innovate and think outside of the box when working on a client project, or if they hit a roadblock during the design process?

At KA+A, we place a huge emphasis on personal development and collective exploration. If done well, these pursuits address a lot of the issues around inspiration and burn out. We encourage our team to start business, build products, volunteer, join boards, etc. KA+A is a platform for that type of entrepreneurship and discovery. Building products inside of KA+A has been the single biggest driver of our collective maturation. It’s imparted us with a level of empathy that is almost impossible to possess unless you’ve gone through what your clients have gone through.

What types of characteristics do you look for when you put on the investment hat?

The team is important. I look for smart, industrious doers – with a bias toward action. The startup world is not really a place for philosophers. Another way of thinking about it is, that we’re looking for beat cops not bureaucrats. At the end of the day execution wins – so finding teams that have a track record of executing is critical.

We also look for well-defined problems that overlap with big, addressable markets. You can show us that there is a real problem that your business addresses, but if there are only 10 customers worldwide its not a very interesting opportunity.

We use a pretty simple formula to help us make investment decisions: Problem + Solution = $. It sounds like a gross oversimplification, but it’s amazing how many startups have a great solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. Or they are effectively tackling a problem with a killer solution, but they can’t discover a business model that makes it economically viable.

On behalf of the entire SmartFile team, we would like to thank Kristian for for his participation at the 2013 SmartFile Platform Bake-Off! Be sure to follow Kristian @kristianindy and KA+A @KAPlusA on Twitter.

After just one week of open registration, many student teams from various different Indiana colleges have joined this first-of-its kind open source programming and design challenge. Registration closes February 28th, so hurry-up and sign-up if you want to compete for a piece of the Bake-Off pie…which happens to be cold, hard CASH – totaling $17,000!

Please tweet @SmartFile using the hashtag #SFbakeoff with questions, concerns, or comments.

 

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