The thirst for knowledge is as ancient as the sea. Every generation of knowledge seekers is hungrier than the last. But is just education enough to quench our growing desire to know more?
Innovation and ideation are two important parameters to assist in our education journey. With the launch of the New Education Policy, the country is now moving into the future with a strong focus on STEM and assisted and alternative teaching methods. What this now brings to the forefront, is how we impact the thoughts, abilities, and actions of our young generation.
How do we excite them, and make them think beyond the pages of their books?
The answer lies in engagement, team building and working on real life problems which lead to world class solutions which help build a sustainable and enriching environment.
Hackathons started as a technical competition, aimed at a 24 or 48 hour finale, which involved writing code, creating technical prototypes and , during the finale , proving the product / code actually worked and could be used in real life scenarios.
While those kinds of hackathons do still exist, they focus on a very defined solution. Now, these hackathons have opened up not just for technical students , but also non-technical ones , including management , social media , the arts , and more. These events are no longer aimed at 24 & 48-hour timelines. They extend for a few months and have various engagement activities which make the whole program so very interesting.
As the Head of Innovation for i4C we work in the niche space of Hackathons and Ideathons. With a proprietary idea submission and evaluation platform, we provide school and college students and corporate employees alike the opportunity to participate in multiple events and showcase their strengths and solutions.
At the heart of a hackathon event is the theme. One could do a specialised event on IoT, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, EV infrastructure etc. They can also do a social event on Sustainability goals, climate change, water conservation, Air Pollution, Waste Management, and many other themes. One could even have an event involving multiple themes to engage a larger target group and audience.
The strength behind the Theme is the Problem Statement (PS). These statements are carefully curated problems faced currently. Sometimes these PS are given by Industry – Banks, Manufacturing Cos, Aggregators, Cloud Computing etc , all because they want to see a fresh take on how to tackle these problems .
This becomes very interesting for students because here they get a real world problem faced by a large company, and if they are part of the team which solves it, well.. it can lead to an offer of employment for them, or at the very least an internship. It could help them start their career on a good note.
We have recently conducted a few hackathons for government bodies, private companies and are currently working with a large Blockchain entity now. The thrill that the students get from such a participation, needs to be seen to be believed. We have students from Tier 2 and Tier 3 colleges attempting to solve a real-world problem of a Trillion Dollar Company. This is the Engagement which the Hackathon Platform provides. It helps see things from a very large perspective.
These events also lead to team management and team playing skills. Since these events are all team based with a minimum team size of 4, the students and employees get to work with each other in proximity. This helps them understand the life lesson of team dynamics, kindness, sharing and above all, the desire to win as one.
Feedback from many events conducted by us, has led us to this important conclusion, as students themselves commented on feeling as a family, with immense gratitude for winning being shared by all.
During an event, the teams which take part, are evaluated by industry experts, who interact with the students and share their thoughts and ideas on what can be done to make the solution to the PS more compelling.
Many of these experts, if not all, are usually Subject Matter Experts (SME) in their chosen field , and hence approached by us . These kind of interactions between young minds and experienced SME, goes over and beyond what is taught in a classroom, and it liberates the young minds to think more clearly and more long term.
It gets even better, once the teams are shortlisted for the finals based on their solutions. These teams are then assigned mentors who help guide them and take their idea, prototype, vision, product, or service into the Finale.
These mentors spend long hours with the team and patiently answer all questions in support of their team winning the Finale. These hours and moments spent with such experienced mentors is usually a defining moment for students.
During the Finale, all teams compete hard to prove their solutions are worthy, but it is usually the Top 3 who end up victorious. These 12 students across 3 teams, get to share their Intellectual Property with the companies who find their solution effective, they get prize money, they get certificates and trophies, they get internships and job offers, but most importantly , they learn to win on their own , through their efforts and those of team members. This, to me, is probably the defining thought on why we need to have more such idea based events in India.
Having our young generation think out of the box, solve Big Corporate problem statements, work as a team, and enjoy the success of winning, at a young age, on a big platform all adds up to our country’s growth and economic success.
Most searched question
What happens at a hackathon?
How do beginners prepare for hackathons?
How has the education system evolved over the years?
Most searched queries
Hackathon for beginners
Evolution of education in India
Importance of evolution in education
For more such amazing content follow: Digilah