Last week on April 4th-6th, Uppsala NFGL competed alongside approximately 400 other hackers to create the most beneficial social-solutions using open data. Hack for Sweden 2019 focused on the areas considered to have the most substantial amount of accumulated data and thus provide a potential for computer-driven innovations within the Health, Environment, Traffic, Research and Education, Business and Labour Market fields.
I had heard about hackathons before but had always been afraid of trying it out, since my background is not in IT. Once I found out that Hack for Sweden invites anyone regardless of their education, I knew it was my chance to attending the event.
Photo: Hack for Sweden 2019 event
Our team gathered enthusiasts from IT, economics and management, urban development, engineering and biomedicine backgrounds providing the diversity of perspectives. Brainstorming about the challenges within all the areas that the 2019 Hack for Sweden focused on, we allowed ourselves to think of anything we would like to change, create or to have available in the world even if we had no idea how it could be implemented.
In the end, it turned out that we were all passionate about providing more information to users to facilitate making more sustainable choices in everyday life. Our prospective mobility mobile app called ‘EcoMotion’ would inform users about the carbon footprint of every possible route while tailoring walking paths to the preferences of individual users. This way, walking could be more enjoyable and appealing and would be picked over taking a bus for a short ride – good for you and the planet!
Photo: Hack for Sweden 2019 event
“Even though we didn’t win a prize, we have learned to work as a team, be creative, think critically, and enhance our entrepreneurial spirits,” said Trang about the event.
But, of course, the hackathon experience is not limited to just brainstorming with your own team. You get to be inspired by the speeches of incredible people such as astropreneur (Astronaut and Entrepreneur) Karin Nisldotter. You get to network with other hackers, talk to companies and governmental organisations to know more about their work, learn how to build a mock-up for an app in less than a day and you learn how to make your pitch concise and convincing, amongst many other things.
Photo: Astropreneur Karin Nisldotter
Some of my highlights from the hackathon are the following:
– Sweden not only cares about global problems but also local ones and is willing to invest in solving them
– There are so many approaches that have been proven to work overtime that can be transferred from one area to another
– The limiting factor in transforming the world is not coming up with solutions – people are creative and have plenty of them. But having the means and courage to start implementing them, start prototyping and adjusting concepts on the go is what matters the most. It’s great that there are government support initiatives to help overcome this barrier. But what is more important is that many people like helping. You just need to ask, and they will happily give you a hand with recommendations, practical advice or material support
I sincerely hope that more of the ideas that were born during the event will be implemented. I have already started my list of projects I would like to bring to life, and keeping them in mind at all times will help me not to miss an opportunity to work towards them.
I want to wrap up with the opinion of my teammate Farrell Yodihartomo: “I encourage SI scholars no matter what your background is, to get involved and experience events like this one. Hackathon boosts your brain to work effectively even when you haven’t slept enough. It makes you feel unstoppable, powerful and capable. It motivates you to contribute to teamwork, to share skills, knowledge and to master new technologies. The prize is nice to aim for, but more importantly, you get to establish all those new connections with passionate people and to enjoy generating new ideas together.”