In association with IBM, Wavelabs and Girls In Tech launched India’s first ever women’s hackathon on Smart City Solutions in Visakhapatnam on 19th and 20th August. Visakhapatnam is one of the fastest growing cities and was chosen to be developed as a Smart City by Indian Government, and it made sense to kickstart a Smart City solutions hackathon with it.
We witnessed a participation of around 300 women who were a mix of students, professionals, developers etc. along with 50+ mentors who are technology leaders themselves. The participants were mentored in the Lean Startup Methodology including ideation, product canvas, and optimum coding. The hackathon also brought together dignitaries from the state government, US embassy, Mehnaz Ansari, USTDA Country Representative- South Asia, Konakalla Narayana Rao, Member of Parliament, Dr. Manpreet Singh Manna, Director, AICTE, international NGOs etc.
The basic premise of the hackathon was to recognize the current concerns and how they can be resolved using trending technologies like Big Data, IoT, Cloud Technologies etc. A noteworthy mention to IBM for their crucial role in not just supporting the hackathon as mentors but for also providing an easy access to IBM Watson Services through IBM Bluemix to all the participants. It was possible to build chatbots, image recognition, and more trending products/services using IBM Watson Services.
The participants were mentored and encouraged to conceive products for real-time problems from the realms of social, economic, and environmental perspectives. In this process, they explored solutions and alternative options to the usage of natural resources.
The Process of Orientation by Wavelabs
In the pursuit of wanting to be more than just mere mentors, we put ourselves in the shoes of the participants. For that purposes, we led trial runs of the hackathon among Wavelabs mentors and invited other mentors to our premises as well. We ideated different smart city solutions, delved into crafting Lean Canvas, user personas, and at the end of one week, we were able to build various solutions under a timespan of 8 hours.
In fact, to accelerate the development, we built Starter kits with multi-tenant and multifunctional modules that enabled the participants to get a steady head start on their ideas. Powered by IBM Watson Services, the hackathon was particularly great for learning and building things that matter.
What Wavelabs Did
Curriculum Development: The curriculum and the content were exclusively developed by Wavelabs to position the participants to better comprehend the key components of effective software development. During the hackathon, the participants were accustomed to several modern techniques like Design Thinking, Lean Startup Methodology, choosing a technology stack, developing Cloud Native applications etc. The curriculum was divided into 4 sections that include choosing an idea for developing a solution, defining an IT solution, delivering the solution using Bluemix, and presenting the solution.
Starter Kits: Our pre-built starter kits come with several functionalities and modules such as easy registration/login, deals, calendars and more that offer multi-platform support and work with IBM Watson Services. This empowered the participants to cut through the hassle of setting up accounts or building features from the scratch and focus more on the product.
Lean Startup Methodology: We oriented the participants on Lean Startup Methodology to help them understand the importance of development agility and MVP-driven approach to speed up the goto market time.
The guest speeches and the jury discussions were a perfect blend of knowledge, motivation; the girls had the opportunity to network with the speakers, mentors and other technology leaders. The free flowing conversations led to talks about experience, learning, in-demand technology etc.
Although we had to choose 5 ideas to be taken forward, around 52 innovative and novel solutions came out of the event. The winning teams with 15 members together have the scope to be mentored in terms of technology and development along with internship opportunities.
Wavelabs is also interested in offering one team its premises for pursuing the idea, incubate, and pitch it to the seed investors.
We believe this platform has sown the seed of smart city development and its importance in the participants. And on that note, we hope more individuals take interest and ownership in building smart cities and a brighter future.