The iSpace Foundation, in collaboration with Hub Accra, hosted “What is a hackathon?” meetup where experts and industry stakeholders discussed the relevance of hackathons and international competitions while highlighting two upcoming events: The Negawatt Challenge and Hack for Big Choices.
The Negawatt Challenge is not exactly a hackathon, although it does rely on some key characteristics of a hackathon such as team building, pitching, and prototype development. It is an international competition unfolding throughout 2015 in Accra, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, and Rio de Janeiro. The goal is to engage local students and the tech and start-up communities to come up with relevant and innovative software, visualization tools, and smart hardware paired with sustainable new business models to support energy efficiency for local communities. “We wanted to take a moment to reflect on what a successful innovation competition entails. How can we design them in way to produce sustainable and viable results and ensure that they are sufficiently inclusive of participants of different gender, skills and profiles? What happens after an event of this type takes place: how to ensure that the new solutions evoke a sense of local ownership and really do get implemented?” said Alison Roadburg, iSpace Programs Manager.
Elaborating on the Hack for Big Choices, which allegedly became the biggest hackathon in West Africa, Aurora Chiste said that her organization believes that locals, with their talent and resources, are the best suited to solve their own problems. Yet, they can still take a lot from ideas and experiences coming from elsewhere. To that note, she was excited that her organization managed to bring on board such international giants as WordPress, Facebook, and Internet.org.
Other speakers were Negawatt Challenge mentors Dr Foster Osae-Akonnor (CEO of Ghana Green Building Council), Dayo Osikoya (CEO of Code School), Kofi Bart-Plange (CEO of BizLogic and hackathon-ninja), and Ethel Cofie (CEO of EDEL Technologies and YALI fellow).
To the theme, Ethel Cofie had this to say, ”A hackathon is an event where different minds gather to solve problems with technology be it software or hardware. Think out of the box and be creative with your solutions!”
The Negawatt Challenge is an international competition empowering communities to innovate around local energy issues. Using a multi-phase open innovation methodology, this initiative aims to transform cities into more sustainable and energy efficient places.
Hack for Big Choices is a global movement with the mission to empower talented people to solve local problems by developing innovative products and businesses.