Last 5th and 6th of May a team of Polarising consultants entered the annual hackathon organized by Fundação Gulbenkian. HackForGood 2018 took place in Porto and our ‘missionaries’ went on a great adventure to create an application that can help make the world a better place. The project name was “Stay Healthy Globally” and it’s targeted to address the social inclusion of refugees and migrants, providing a platform where they can have access to medical services.
Although the team hasn’t made it to the next phase, the experience was great, read all about it first hand!
André Freitas: “It was gratifying to attend an event where the intention of those involved was to help people. Failing to qualify for the next stage didn’t make me think that our idea wasn’t good or that it couldn’t help people, on the contrary; it made me realize how the other ideas were as good and that we can continue our project so that in the future more people can still benefit from it. Also, something made me very happy which was to work with a team that didn’t knew each other and were able to connect easily with the single purpose of building something extraordinary!”
Anish Ghimire: “It was one of those weekends which went from good to horrible to hell-yeah in 38 hrs! Getting to know new people and working dynamically as a team, was the key. The energy that surrounded us was excellent but not sleeping for 37 hours was terrible! It changes the part of your brain that thinks ‘damn! – just go to sleep and only wake up after 2 days!’ People that just like working on new ideas (maybe some were working way before the hackathon and yes, those projects won) to reach the same goal was awesome. Winning is always great but it wasn’t our time so we will wait for next year to win the 1st prize (yes, you heard it, not second or third, FIRST!:)”
Dénis Silveira : “Well, it was not my first-time in a hackathon, but it was my first great experience of this kind in Portugal and also my first trip to the north of the country. In just one weekend, I could enjoy enjoy the beautiful landscape during the bus trip and also witness the street celebrations of the National League winner:) Although I was impressed with the structure and quality of the event, I was also disappointed by the fact that it was not a true hackathon, but a showcase of products already developed and consolidated (something like a sharkathon=hackathon+shark tank!). But at least 80% of the projects showcased were only there to improve their presentations, which ended up being a great advantage compared to the other teams that had to develop the idea from scratch, as well as work on its the presentation. Nevertheless, it was an incredible experience and I had the opportunity to work with a great team, get to know each other and improve our technical and personal skills. I believe we gave our best and our idea is really valuable – and the best part is that it can still be!”
Roberto Neto: This was my first hackathon and I would describe the experience as exciting and challenging. Staying for two days in a great place with good food and people available all the time for questions and suggestions, as well as an excellent project team, was what kept me motivated and excited and awake! To develop an idea that would contribute to a higher cause in 30 hours without any sleep (that was my case!), proved to be the most gratifying accomplishment. All the ideas presented were awesome, in particular the project to help the hearing impaired. Even though our team was not selected for the Bootcamp, I ended this hackathon with a good feeling! The funniest thing happened during the event: some of the teams stayed up late celebrating Porto’s football team victory, which gave us some time to reboot our energies!”
Tiago Ávila: It all started Saturday at 4 in the morning when a supernatural force pulled me out of bed! The rest of the team was expecting at the bus station and I remember feeling excited, yet it wasn’t enough to keep me awake so I fell asleep again all the way to Porto! The room where the hackathon was taking place had a stage with carpet floors and plants everywhere and lots of windows so it felt very good. Teams were sitting together and there were plants and coffee machines, juice and snacks, comfortable puffs and consoles, ping-pong and table football, everything lined up to make us feel at home for the next 38 hours – I felt ready to work and so did the team! We organized to maximize time; each question to address specific needs, tasks assigned, speed meetings scheduled. All teams were challenged during the event to get feedback from mentors and take workshops, so we had to plan for those extras too. Finally, we had to pitch a two days work in 2 minutes! There were more than 170 people, 30 teams and each idea was more innovative and wonderful than the previous one, all focused in making the world a better place! We did our best but weren’t selected to the next phase. I learned a lot, it was definitely life-changing, so get ready because the world will still hear of me:)”
Vanda Ribeiro: “This was my first hackathon and I was really excited! I love challenges and new experiences and since this was related to Computer Science, my thing, it was the perfect combination. It wasn’t as chaotic as I thought it would be. I expected lots of energy, people stressing and all, but everybody was calm and peaceful and that was very cool:) Some people could even sleep all night! We always had food and coffee to keep us active and the teams were friendly to one another, instead of competitive. There were lots of interesting projects but my favorite was “Eye Brain”, the winner. It was a project about early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease sustained by a add-on to mobile apps that can scan the eyes in search of its early signs. My team also developed a very good project, it was a very rich experience and I learned a lot from it!”
For more information visit Hackforgood: do your part in changing the world!