30.10.2018 / Martina Dahm
On Friday 26th October a 24-hour world-wide hackathon was organised by Climate-KIC, a European knowledge and innovation community. In Helsinki the hackathon was organised together with City of Helsinki, Aalto University, University of Helsinki and Urban Academy at the Design Factory in Otaniemi, Espoo and the idea was to get together professionals and students to innovate around a sustainable food hub in the Teurastamo and Tukkutori district in Helsinki.
On Friday I arrived to the Design Factory in the morning for registration and the hackathon started officially at 11:00 with some inspirational talks and team-formation. A lot of students from different universities and backgrounds participated with some professionals as well. We had lunch and visit to Teurastamo and Tukkutori district where we got to know more about the businesses working in the area, restaurants, bars, cafes, a distillery, bookshop and the wholesale area with a lot of knowledge in the food sector.
Back in the Design Factory, groupwork started. We defined the problems and challenges we had explored during the visit and my team, including members from architecture, design and business, decided to focus on the lack of sense of belonging and ownership of the space. We wanted to focus on how to connect the neighbourhood to the district and create a sustainable food hub where different actors will together create a community and a new more participatory food culture. We had to define our problem and solution in one phrase each and later in the evening we also had a lecture on how to make a good pitch. Over the night we brainstormed and created concepts for our idea and took naps or went out for some fresh air whenever it became difficult to focus. In the morning all the groups were working on their pitches for the final presentation along with having breakfast and we got to pitch and discuss our ideas with the other groups for some feedback and support. At 9:00 the pitching started and it was nice to hear all the different ideas related to food that the teams had come up with.
Our concept was a strategy to engage the local neighbourhood to the district, by offering anyone interested in getting involed different packages of activities. The package is time based, so one can engage for example for 2 hours, 2 days or 2 years in courses, workshops, recycling and other things related to food and the already ongoing activities. I got to pich our idea, and it was a fun and teaching challenge to get up on the stage and do the presentation that was prepared by my team members.
The hackathon experience was very interesting and teaching, it was fun to meet new people from different backgrounds to work with in a very intense way but it was also difficult to keep oneself awake for 24 hours and really use the time efficiently. It was also good to get to have a pitch in front of the jury and get direct feedback from them on our presentation and project. I really appreciate my team members for all the effort all of us put into the project but the best part was maybe the deep discussions we had on life in the middle of the night.