Week 20 // Hackathon Winners

May 19, 2017

It’s Saturday evening just a little after seven. The team spirit is amped and everybody is pending: Who will be the winner of the Hackathon Oranjestad?

In my previous column I wrote about the Hackathon that took place this past weekend. An event initiated from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and established in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce, VNO and Bureau of Innovation.
A hackathon is an event where groups of different backgrounds in an x-number of hours, in this case 48 hours – solve a challenge in society. In this case, Oranjestad. Especially the Caya Grandi and the area around it, has been renovated in the past recent years. Yet a large part of the public does still not visit. The main question was therefore how to get everything back to life in the Caya Grandi.

Last Thursday evening we collaborated with all groups, the mentors and the jury for the kick off to this unique hackathon. All ins and outs were shared with the teams. For example, the solution to the main question had to meet a number of aspects, including stimulating spending in Caya Grandi, generating more pedestrians and more cooperation between the different parties.

The preconditions and assessment criteria were not even discussed yet, but the groups were already working enthusiastically! All kinds of innovative and creative ideas where flowing around. While sometimes discussions aroused, there was a lot of laughter and everybody worked from the integrated, cost effective way to find solutions.

This positive energy became even stronger on Friday and Saturday. The first groups started Friday 9 am to continue working enthusiastically. Some groups worked til 4am Saturday morning and arrived back at 8am again that same day.

You may wonder who participates in such a hackathon: anyone who wants to deliver a positive change to the theme of a hackathon. We had people from all sorts of different backgrounds and age categories – from early 20th to the 60th all wanting the same – to bring Caya Grandi back to life. Under the guidance of great mentors, the teams received support in the elaboration of their concepts and in the preparation of their pitches on Saturday.

On Saturday afternoon at 5 pm all groups had to hand in their presentations. A draw determined which group should first be presented to the 8-member jury. Many nice concepts and solutions were presented, including an app where you can order online products and the pick-up point would be in the city, a zip line in Caya Grandi, last but not least – to approach the downtown area as a business and to bring creative marketing solutions for retailers to present themselves in a different way.

The jury returns from their deliberation. The Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications, Richard Arends has a big check in his hand and the tension increases. He emphasizes the importance of this hackathon for all stakeholders once more, thanks all the parties and announces the prize for the winning team: participation in the Miami Miami Conference, IP registration of their concept, access to the knowledge and network of The organizing partners, 6 months workplace at the Vault and a gift from Setar. The time really is there … The winner of the Hackathon Oranjestad is: Monumnt! In an interactive way, they have made a concept through the AR (augmented reality) to bring downtown to life. Through all sorts of innovative applications and gamification, you’ll be guided from place to place, and you’ll get more background information and special offers about your current location. This applies not only to monuments but also to shops, trams, restaurants and museums. A real hackathon winner!

The team has announced Monumnt’s coming months to start up and I think you will hear and read about it or maybe even experience it in Caya Grandi!