2 Days at the India-Unlimited Hackathon

What is a Hackathon?

Many of you might know what it is, but I was unaware of what it is till few days ago. The first time I heard the word Hackathon, I imagined of a person hacking some system, and then running a marathon so that no one can catch them for hacking (PJ) !
Well, this was of course not what it is, in Hackathons, we are presented with practical situations and real life problems, and are expected to come up with a feasible and innovative solution within given time.

The India Unlimited Hackathon

The organiser of this Hackathon was India Unlimited, which is co-ordinated by Embassy of India in Sweden, seeking to strengthen India-Sweden connections and partnerships, and hence, the cases given to us were the real life problems which are in alarming situation in India, and we were shown some illustrations of some Swedish Initiatives that tackled some similar problems. This challenge was divided into three parts proposed by three people and we had to come up with a solution for any one of them while working in teams.

  1. Alarming situation of traffic congestion and road accidents in India, especially the rush hour traffic in metro cities. (2 teams chose this)
  2. The problem of excessive pollution in Indian metro cities. (2 teams chose this)
  3. The exorbitant housing situation in India, especially the urban areas. (3 teams chose this)

The Experience

This was a two-day hackathon, where we spent Day-1 knowing each other and the challenges that we need to solve, the competition was held at Hammarby Sjöstad, which is an area that underwent a major urban development, so we were told the story of how it was developed into one of the most referenced and visited spot among Scandinavian examples of implemented eco-friendly urban developments.

Day-2 was dedicated to coming up with a solution to the problems, 8 hours to come up with your ideas and present it to the jury comprising of some eminent people (including the ambassador of India to Sweden).

Here are some photos from the event.

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GlashusEtt, Stockholm Water’s environmental information center, that’s where the event introduction started at.

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The Hackathon was hosted by the awesome workplace of LINK ARKITEKTUR.

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India’s Ambassador to Sweden, Mrs. Banashri Bose Harrison, explaining the challenge to participants.

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We needed a name for our team, and what’s better than “Jugaad” – the Indian way of solving problems, (We had to add that D to make it easy to pronounce for Swedes)

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Team DJugaad thinking out loud

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And yes, we got savory Indian food as well, all thanks to Indian Street Food and Co, Stockholm

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One of our fellow teams presenting their Idea.

Yes, that's the evaluation criteria.

Yes, that’s the evaluation criteria.

And that's our team with the convener of Hackathon - Hannes (I'm sure those two people are looking towards food)

And that’s our team with the convener of Hackathon – Hannes (I’m sure those two people are looking towards food)

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The incredible weather outside prompted us to take 3 instead of one scheduled break. Summer is coming 🙂

Takeaways

Well, this was the first Hackathon, I ever participated in, and no matter what the results be, this two-day experience definitely inspired me to participate in more of such events, meeting new people is always nice, and then working with people of different age group and backgrounds definitely gives shows the different ways in which one can approach a problem.

It was astonishing, what all can people come up with in a short time of 8 hours, a team made an app, while other made 3D models of the proposed houses, while one of them even made an actual model of the house the were proposing.

If you’re curious to know what idea we proposed, here it is, feel free to see and evaluate it.