/ TECHSTUFF

Clean and Green Hackathon 2015

I participated in the Clean & Green Hackathon this weekend. This is second hackathon I participated in after Gamecraft (Organised by NUS Games Development Group) last year. It was particularly a very enriching experience. Held on a larger scale (nation-wide) and open to all ideas and hacks (including hardware, software, apps, games etc.) and people from all age groups, I was able to understand what to expect in a hackathon.

Unlike a continuous 24 hours hackathon, we were allowed to go home and return the next morning. It took place over a period of 3 days, starting from Friday (Ideation and pitching) till Sunday (when the judging and prize presentation was held).

I got to know many people from different backgrounds and learn a lot from their ideas as well. Some were just there for the pure fun of it, to exchange ideas and make good friends. Some ideas were just excellent and gave me many new insights into further development of my own idea.

This time, my team (Kenny, Yong Zhi & myself) came up with the idea of a web & mobile ready platform called “The Greenlist”. It is basically a peer-to-peer connecting app where one can post his/her old items (eg: laptops, handphones, toys, books, furniture etc.) up for donation.

Anyone who needs this item but are willing to have it secondhand (and for free) can simply claim this item, and thereafter proceed to collect the item from the donor themselves. Each successful donation earns the donor some reward points which can then be redeemed for vouchers. To fund the operating costs (which are minimal), we proposed

  1. In-App Advertising
  2. In-App Purchases (Eco-friendly items etc.)
  3. Sponsorship for vouchers
  4. Optional donation before claiming an item

Once the idea was formed, we made a prototype both for the web and mobile platform (using Justinmind software).

On Sunday, as the group leader, I made the pitch for our idea and gave a demo of our prototype. Given only 3 minutes for the pitch, it was crucial to make the most out of each and every second to create an everlasting impression of the idea & product/service. Though nervous, having take some public speaking training and course in NUS allowed me to focus on the pitch and do my best.

One of the learning points was that I realised that I might have focused too much on the demo of the prototype itself. I should have instead allocated a major part towards helping the audience understand and appreciate the relevance and usefulness of the app in their lives.

Also, the idea is crucial in a hackathon (even more than the prototype)! An effective idea will definitely win people over.

Though, my team did not win, we were thankful for the experience. This hackathon gave me some crucial experience that will help me do better in the forthcoming hackathons I will be participating.

“The Greenlist” project is hosted here.

The photos of the Hackathon are available here.

Cheers,
Harish