Last weekend, one of the world’s largest hackathons for women took place in Stockholm, Sweden.
The organisers were aiming to beat the world record but didn’t quite get there (it was very close!) It was however Europe’s largest ever hackathon for women. And I, Elisabet, had the pleasure of being there, watching close up what happens when great people come together to do great things.
“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”
11 challenges were put forward by 10 organisations, including well-known names such as Microsoft, Gap Gemini, E&Y, McKinsey, AstraZeneca and Adyen. Women and girls (existing or budding developers and product designers) were asked to step forward and take part in the challenge of their choice.
The list of challenges included subjects like
- Inspiring girls to code
- Using AI to analyse images
- Integrity on your own terms
- Empowering women to take control of their personal finance
- Better Health App
- Accelerate adoption of circular economy
It all kicked off at Stockholm City Hall, an amazing building, probably most famous outside Sweden as the place where the glitzy Nobel Prize Gala Party takes place each year!
Once everyone had joined a challenge team, the work started. Brainstorming, free thinking, ideas creating new ideas – it was so inspiring to watch! They had just under 24 hours before the winner of each challenge needed to be back presenting their ideas in competition with the other challenge winners.
On jury service
I had been asked to be on the jury for Adyen’s challenge to inspire girls to code, so had the chance to see them in action. We spent all of Sunday in the recently opened WeWork office in Stockholm (the very first to open in Scandinavia). They talked, listened, crafted ideas, drew pictures, coded and finally put together their 3-minute pitches to present to the jury.
We listened with interest, asked questions and started rating their pitches in various categories. One of the other jury members was a 14-year old girl who as the target group of the challenge was invaluable in really looking at the challenge from that perspective (my teenage years are far behind me and as much as I would like to think I can put myself in their shoes her observations clearly highlighted something all the adult jury members had overlooked). Not only did she do a good job at that but she also had the ability to clearly and thoughtfully share her thinking and influence the thinking of others (all adults – such a cool and inspiring girl.
The winner of the Adyen challenge (and the jury was unanimous) was Filter () – an app that will allow the user to create their own filters by learning simple coding, hence laying the foundation for an interest in coding by making it fun, engaging and relevant. A brilliant team, brilliant teamwork – we were delighted to see them go forward to the final.
Every single person will have walked away from there richer through the insights they’d had, the people they’d met, the accomplishment they’d experienced.
And we all win because everyone who was part of it will continue to impact people around them and beyond.
Everyone is clearly a winner when this kind of collaborative effort takes place. Every single person will have walked away from there richer through the insights they’d had, the people they’d met, the accomplishment they’d experienced. And we all win because everyone who was part of it will impact people around them and beyond. The ripple effect in action.
There was of course also an overall hackathon winner, which is described like this by Soraya H Contreras, one of the idea creators: “Lucy is an innovative self-help app that takes you through life’s various stages. The goal is to give women knowledge about their bodies and their sexual health while breaking down shame and stigma around pleasure”
Great, fearless innovation – well done to this engaged and innovative team!
You can read more about the winning LUCY app here.
The magic of collaboration
We love seeing people collaborate in the way represented by this event! What we can achieve when we truly open up to others, fearlessly exchange our thoughts, keenly listen to the ideas of others is INCREDIBLE. We feel truly inspired.
“It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.”