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SCC Hackathon

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships” – Michael Jordan

The MACE class teamed up with both the IBM and IEM classes to be a part of a Hackathon working with the Surrey County Council to try and solve problems that the council are facing in connecting with their community.

We were all briefed by a few of the Surrey County Council team members and thereafter by volunteers who have started initiatives in the Stanwell community and a prison in Esher. Following the brief, we formed groups and began the process of ideating our start up concepts which would hopefully help the SCC connect with communities that they feel are isolated.

We first learnt how to make up personas for communities which face difficulties. Through interviewing people within these communities we identified issues and problems they experience as well as what they might need from the Surrey Council to help avoid not only mental health issues but also social and physical challenges. The interviews helped us form a persona to work with and ‘cater for’ essentially.

Through this process our group came up with the idea of a website for single dads. This platfrom could help them to find other single dads near to them and support each other and build a community around them. Although our idea was somewhat vague originally, exercises which involved presenting to other groups in the Hackathon and receiving their feedback helped us refine our idea and consider problems we had not thought of ourselves. When the idea began we were not convinced by our own plans for this website. Yet after interacting with other groups we had a much clearer and more focused idea of what was needed to make the website useful, trustworthy and valuable to single fathers in the Surrey area.

I really enjoyed the class teaching us about posters and presenting. I don’t have great skills when it comes to putting posters together and making strong visuals on design software. So I found the introduction to Canva extremely helpful and have already used it for other proposals. Public speaking has never been a favourite of mine. I am relatively shy and don’t have much confidence when talking to more than 2 or 3 people. But the Hackathon, as well as the extra class about presenting helped me immeasurably. Again, getting feedback from classmates about what I was doing right as well as what I was doing wrong while presenting, made me feel a lot more comfortable about speaking about Happy Dads.

The Hackathon was also a valuable exercise in teamwork. Obviously teamwork has it’s strengths, but there are also challenges to overcome. When different ideas come together it can be difficult to find the correct direction. People’s different backgrounds and language barriers also made this problematic. But each team member contributed to make this project enjoyable and fruitful in my opinion. Although we may have struggled to work together in the beginning, we came together and put together the framework for an idea that could have a bright future.

The presentation last Friday to the Surrey Council team members and well as other stake holders went very well in my opinion. Once more, we got strong feedback about the idea and also got constructive criticism on what could make Happy Dads even better. Our poster looked great and our team all contributed effectively when presenting as well as when we were quizzed on our idea.

Overall I would say that the Hackathon was very beneficial to me. Not only did it give great insight into how to create value and solutions where there are problems or issues in communities. But it also helped with my graphic design skills and my presenting skills. I was also grateful to work in a team again.

Tsana and Ruby representing at the Hackathon
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Published by fortysomethingrebirth

I am a South African from Jo'burg. I love football, music (mainly from the Caribbean) and design. I am currently studying a Masters of Managing in the Creative Economy at Kingston University in London.

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