How Students are Using Technology to Solve Global Challenges

2 August, 2016
Ishita Ranjan

How Students are Using Technology to Solve Global Challenges

2 August, 2016
Technology at student hackathon event
Every now and again, we’re reminded that students can be a force to be reckoned with. We were most recently reminded of this at the UniHack launch event. UniHack is a start-up that aims to improve the university experience of students up and down the country by running hackathons. With a strong focus on fostering innovation, using tech for good and nurturing the inner entrepreneur within students, UniHack paves the way for students to tackle some of society’s most pressing challenges. The launch event being our first hackathon, we learned a huge amount! Here are four of our key takeaways:

1. We learned what a hackathon actually is
A hackathon is an event where teams of people come together to break down a problem and build a new solution. The focus is on collaborative problem solving, from the ideation stage right through to the building of the solution (whether that be an app, service, campaign or project). The theme of this hackathon was the future of the economy, the question posed to the teams being “As the future leaders of tomorrow, how can we ensure sustainable economic growth, and decent work for all?”. UniHack brought together university students, business mentors and local organisations over a period of two days to develop tech solutions to this challenge.

2. We learned about using tech for good
The UK boasts an impressive line-up of social entrepreneurs and tech talent, and there is a sweet spot where those two things meet. The future of the economy theme that the hackathon was based on was inspired by one of the UN’s sustainable development goals - decent work & economic growth. In breaking down this problem and applying tech to it, the students were in fact innovating around one of our most pressing global challenges, and it was incredible. From a website connecting volunteers to causes, an app connecting refugees to resources, and a platform collecting workplace data for diversity and inclusion purposes, the prototypes the students came up with were remarkably innovative. We judged the final round at the event and watching students making a positive impact with technology was an inspiring day out of the office for us!

3. We learned collaboration & communication is key
During a hackathon, UniHack brings together students, business mentors and advisors from local community organisations. There is something to be said for putting great people together in close quarters over a shared goal - the positive energy in the space was undeniable. The two days of the hackathon saw the students work with their teams, attend sessions with trainers, get on the phone to experts and seek advice from mentors. Seeing that communication and collaboration in practice is not only a great example of students learning highly transferable skills, but also of the progress that great team working can have.

4. We learned that students are a force to be reckoned with
They really are. It’s incredible what students, given the right support and tools, can achieve. An event like this one puts each attendee on their own personal development journey - from working in teams, communicating, solving problems, learning, presenting and pitching, there is no doubt that the students learn a huge amount whilst they’re there. Not only do they build their employability, they come together to create real solutions to real challenges whilst doing so. We were incredibly inspired after the launch event and excited to have met so many talented students!

If you’re interested in finding out more about UniHack, or hackathons in general, you can do so here. If you’re interested in hiring top graduate talent for your business, talk to us.

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