Shaping the Future hackathon on creative and cultural industries offers innovative and sustainable solutions

On November 13 more than 60 participants from 10 countries attended a one-day long hackathon in Saint Petersburg. During the event, participants developed innovative ideas for the creative and cultural industries sector that would help build a more efficient, inclusive and greener world. During the pitch session, participants presented such ideas as a platform that structures and provides users with more objective news, a platform that helps others to learn and use smart devices and applications, and more.

“Hackathons help people to get out of their comfort zone and learn something new. As most of the learning is done by doing. One of the things often learned in hackathons is the huge amount of work that can be achieved. Participants also discover a depth of knowledge gained from finding things in common with newly met people. The job of mentors is to provide participants with an external point of view and challenge the assumptions that help them to define their ideas,” says Mike Bradshaw, mentor and host of the Shaping the Future hackathon.

“I must admit that working in a hackathon is quite challenging, because we had to be ready to pitch our work in a very short amount of time. Nevertheless, this hackathon was our chance to think of new ideas and learn useful insights, gain knowledge that we can now use in our daily work,” says Madara Apsalone, representative of the team Sorted.

During the 3-minute pitches, participants exhibited such ideas as: an app that allows elderly people to socialize, for example, by becoming a tour guide or planning an authentic dinner abroad; a project of social gathering of neighbors to improve the nearby environment; a platform for kids that allows children to meet other youngsters around the world and celebrate each other’s cultures; and more.

The mentors evaluated various pitches from three different sectors. The most promising idea in the Livable Cities sector was deemed to be Safe Hands for Your Bicycle from a team including Ieva Treija, Linda Sleja, Annamarija Trausa, Līna Leitāne, Ingus Jakstiņš. This is an idea about an innovative and compact bike lock, which works through an app and reports any suspicious action. In the Circular Economy sector, the most promising idea was Sorted by Madara Apsalone, Andres Rodrigo Gonzalez Buzzio, Vadims Poronomarovs, Sergejs Korsakovs with their app that uses AI to help people sort their waste or recycle it. In the Diversity sector the Tribe Rights project by Ansis Līpenītis, Kārlis Oja and Zigurds Uldriķis came out on top with their idea of a platform where people can work together to solve a shared problem and jointly cover the costs of a lawyer.

At the beginning of the hackathon, participants attended workshops that gave them insightful knowledge that helped develop their ideas. Mike Bradshaw, Head Coach at Sampo Accelerator and the host of the hackathon introduced the plan of the one-day hackathon. Trevor Davies, Director of Copenhagen International Theater talked about such topics as sustainability and how the digital and physical opportunities blend together to offer an immersive urban experience. Ernests Štāls, Co-founder of TechChill and TechHub Riga explained participants on how to think, build and execute ideas, how important teamwork is and how to be mindful and efficient on setting goals, while Alise Dīrika, Co-founder and Senior Manager at Infogram & Prezi highlighted the process of building a product and the importance of research and connecting with potential users to test a product. Before the pitch session, Gleb Maltsev, Co-founder at Fundwise & Pitch Trainer at Stoneful guided participants through the importance of successfully pitching an idea.

Everyone who was interested in the topics and wished to gain new knowledge and insights were invited to join the open workshops that were organized in parallel with the hackathon event. Participants of open workshops had a chance to meet with an additional mentor Tatu Marttila, a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Design, at Aalto University, who talked about the interprofessional and transdisciplinary design action.

Photo gallery of the event can be viewed here.

Creative and Cultural Industries hackathon Shape the Future was organized as the VI International Cultural Forum by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation jointly with the Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture (NDPC). The NDPC focuses on improving operational conditions for cultural and creative industries, bridging the gap between various sources of funding, sectors of activity and strengthening cooperation between project owners, business communities, the public sector, and international institutions throughout Northern Dimension.