SMART Online Hackathon

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SMART Online Hackathon

2-3 SEPTEMBER 2021


The online hackathon will be organized at consortium level and will aim to showcase and promote the open innovation capabilities developed at the 7 EaPC HEIs as a result of the SMART Caffes’ piloting operation. Typically, a hackathon is a competition that encourages participants to come up with relevant and innovative solutions to a business or social problem. Hackathons’ goals vary and may include, inter alia:

  • development of new products, services or functions
  • adoption of new technologies and digital transformation
  • establishing partnerships with innovative start-ups
  • talent search by testing professional expertise and soft skills of potential new employees in real-life environment
  • boosting own team’s creativity
  • collecting original ideas re a company’s new marketing strategies and communication campaigns, etc.

During the project’s hackathon in September 2021, SMART Caffe students and student teams from across the 7 EaPC HEIs involved will be compelled to brainstorm and ideate ready-to-use solutions to issues identified by a real-life large company based in the EU that admits struggling to address diverse challenges linked to leadership, competitiveness, efficiency, financial sustainability, green agenda, etc. The two-day online event will aim to recognize the most innovative and forward-thinking SMART Caffe students from the 7 EaPC HEIs who will be also announced as SMART Open Innovation Champions. During the hackathon, participating students and student teams will be given the opportunity to collaborate and exchange ideas with peers in the framework of dedicated breakout sessions thus fostering their creativity, critical analytical competencies and teamwork skills. In addition, they will receive online support from mentors with proven professional expertise in the company’s sector thus expanding their professional knowledge. Additionally, the hackathon will engage participating students in a large-scale training activity promoting learning-by-doing thus enhancing their practical skills and knowledge about the open innovation business model. Finally, the participants will be given the opportunity to pitch the solutions they have come up in the course of the hackathon thus receiving a platform to promote their skills and competences.

Eligibility of SMART Online Hackathon Participants

The online event will be organized and facilitated at consortium level by Varna University of Management, Bulgaria (VUM) in close cooperation with the NGO Impuls and the 7 SMART Caffes. Although mainly targeted at students of the 7 EaPC HEIs involved in the SMART project, hackathon participation will not be limited to them. The project partners will make every effort to spread the word about the online event and to promote it to students of HEIs outside the SMART consortium and to start-ups with relevant area of expertise in any of the 3 EaPCs.

The following eligibility criteria will apply to potential participants in the SMART Online Hackathon:

  • The online competition is open to both individuals and teams consisting of up to 5 members
  • Only individual participants or innovation teams with at least 1 member who are registered SMART Caffe users and who have submitted a duly filled SMART Student Solution Form no later than 15 May 2021 will be eligible to be selected as winners of the SMART Online Hackathon thus gaining access to participation in the the Regional Practitioners’ Conference that is the project’s final dissemination event to take place at the project’s stage.
  • Participation of start-ups, young entrepreneurs and students of universities outside the SMART project consortium is welcomed for the purposes of peer learning and networking. External participants in the SMART Online Hackathon will be awarded a certificate of accomplishment and cannot receive any financial support or reward.

Application for Participation in the SMART Online Hackathon

The following 2-step application process applies to all participants who are students of the 7 EaPC HEIs involved in the project.

Submission of a duly filled out SMART Student Solution Form and preselection

The document should be emailed to the respective SMART Caffe’s designated email address. The form includes general information linked to student(s) contact data and demographics as well a short description of the company and the company’s challenge announced. In addition, the SMART Student Solution form should provide information on the novel solution proposed by student(s) to address the company’s real-life problem, justification of the proposed solution’s feasibility and relevance to the company’s internal and external context as well as an overview of the resources necessary to implement the solution. Deadline for collection of at least 4 duly filled SMART Student Solution Forms per SMART Caffe/ EaPC HEI or 28 at consortium level is 15 May 2021.

The SMART Student Solutions will be assessed and evaluated by panels composed of VUM project team members, representatives of the companies concerned and the respective SMART Caffe’s experts. Panel members (3 to 5) should have expertise in the field open innovation and/or proven work experience with innovative projects’ initiation, management and implementation. Panel members will assess the student solutions independently and the results of their assessment will feed into a final consolidated evaluation result for each student solution proposed. Assessment criteria include:

Assessment criteria for granting SMART Caffe access Key points to address
Relevance (30 point) Does the proposed solution address the existing challenge? Is the solution relevant to the company’s profile and to its wider business and economic context?
Innovation (max. 30 points) Does the proposed solution bring innovation and value to the company? Does it challenge a status quo in a new way?
Creativity (max. 20 points) Is the proposed solution unique and novel? Is it different from what is already being implemented or is in place?
Sustainability (max. 20 points) Are the company and/or the market ready for this type of solution? Is the company capable to implement the proposed solution? Does the proposed solution seem sustainable?

All students who have designed and proposed solutions to announced company challenges to pass the threshold of 60 points will be invited to register and join the SMART Online Hackathon in July 2021.

Online registration for participation on the SMART Online Hackathon

All individual participants and teams, incl. those outside the 7 EaPC HEIs’ academic communities should register by using the specific form.

Registration period: July 2021.

SMART Online Hackathon’s Tentative Agenda

Day 1

  • Meet and greet (plenary session)
  • Improvisation exercises (plenary session)
  • Expectations on the hackathon (plenary session)
  • Presentation of the company and the challenges on work on (plenary session)
  • Ideation breakout sessions to work on the hackathon’s challenges
  • Crash course in pitching and presenting (plenary session)

Day 2

  • Recap and what’s next (plenary session)
  • Pitch preparation and rehearsal breakout sessions
  • Introduction of the hackathon judges (plenary session)
  • Pitching of challenges’ solutions (plenary session)
  • Assessment and evaluation of the proposed solutions to the company’s challenges
  • Hackathon results’ announcement and award of the 7 Open Innovation Champions
  • Company’s message and thank you note
  • Wrap-up and conclusion of the event
SMART HACKATON PROGRAMME Register like a watcher Registration Form

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DISCLAIMER: The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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