Week 18 // Hackathon

May 10, 2017

Let’s go back to last Wednesday night 5 o’clock. The auditorium at the Chamber of Commerce is packed and people are waiting for the presentation to begin. The topic of this gathering? The upcoming scheduled Hackathon Oranjestad and a presentation by Cor Molenaar on the changing customer behavior.

This coming weekend, on the 12th and 13th of May, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, together with the Chamber of Commerce, the Dutch Representation in Aruba and BI will organize a Hackathon for Oranjestad. Let’s refresh your memory for a bit on what a Hackathon is again. A Hackathon is an event – in this case of 2 days with groups of 3 to 5 people from different disciplines. For example creative people, IT-ers, Marketeers, or people with financial backgrounds. You present them with current challenges and challenge them to sit together and think about the solution within certain themes of society. Every year thousands of Hackathons take place all over the world.

One of the main reasons for these Hackathon’s is to stimulate maximal growth from innovation and co-creation. The combination of different worlds creates huge concepts. Many applications you are likely to use in your daily life on your phone, computer or in your household have occurred during such events. Key companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Nokia, as well as less tech-oriented organizations, organize these events to keep innovating.

For this hackathon we chose Oranjestad. Oranjestad – especially the main street and the surrounding area – has been beautifully renovated in recent years. Nevertheless, a large part of the shopping audience does not visit. We all think we know why and everyone has a different opinion about it. But the question still remains unsolved, how can we generate more traffic in Oranjestad? Combining the forces and focusing on this question 2 days in a row, you can only create valuable, creative and out of the box concepts that nobody ever considered. I speak from experience. I participated myself in a hackathon in the field of logistics and in addition, we held a Happiness hackathon hosted by BI 1,5 years back. The results of both hackathons and their participating groups were really great. Now ask yourself, how great would be if concepts or products originate from the upcoming hackathon and can even develop into a start-up! With the knowledge and network of the organizing parties, we can make the impossible, possible!

That was also one of the two most important “take it home with you” messages from Professor Molenaar: “you can not make it work alone anymore in this changing world. From co-creation, you must collaborate the future together from different expertise and backgrounds”. In addition, he shared another a very important point: “consumer behavior changes! We all know and yet we often tend to not keep an eye on it”. Reason is often because we do not know exactly how to tackle something because we do not know the “new and unknown” (in this case, changing consumer behavior).However, the beauty of it is that consumers are increasingly looking for a unique experience. How do we get it done in Oranjestad? As someone rightly said, “Past performance do not guarantee the future and we need to find new concept”.

A hackathon is therefore a perfect event to tackle, among other things, Professor Molenaar’s two points. The Hackathon Oranjestad will take place at The Vault, the shared office space on Kruisweg 9-11, where Bureau Innovation is also located. An inspiring location for this hackathon, It being one of the main streets sideways and having all conveniences to make the groups as comfortable as possible. On Saturday evening, May 13 at 18:00, the jury groups will present their concepts or products in an open to all audience event. Are you interested all in things happening these two days and what the outcomes are? Come and take a look!

You can also choose to participate in the hackathon, alone or with a group. If you participate by yourself, we will arrange a group for you. For more information or to register, contact the Chamber of Commerce via businessinfo@arubachamber.com or Esther Broeksema, Project Manager at Bureau Innovatie via esther@bi.aw.