What is the Innovate Suffolk Hackathon?
Innovate Suffolk aims to bring together technology and start-up talent across the county openly and inclusively. Through events and networking, they’re looking to connect people to solve real-world problems, build long-term, viable collaborations and nurture scalable businesses across the county.
This year was the first 48 hour Hackathon event and a very successful one at that, focusing on challenging and solving the issues around mental health. Bringing together diverse skills and experiences, the teams aimed to helped create and develop real-world solutions that would make a difference. Everyone was welcome – participants was ranging from developers, creatives, business people, and degree student to mental health experts; a real broad range of minds. Some came with fresh ideas, some thought up ideas on the night, overall there was a great turn out of over 40 participants on opening night.
How do the events work?
Anyone who has an idea pitches it to the other contestants and they whittle them down to the six best ideas. The teams are then formed, then start developing the ideas and preparing for the pitch. Throughout the whole 48 hours, there is regular help and guidance from business professionals to assist them in bringing their ideas to life. They regularly do mini-updates on how they’re getting on, to give progress updates and identify any challenges they may be having. By the end of the weekend, there are 4 teams ready to pitch their polished ideas and hopefully be successful in persuading the judges with their pitch. There is, of course, a prize for the lucky winner, this year being £500 and a trophy!
Overall this year went very well and there were some amazing ideas, one of the top ideas being an Augmented Reality game which aimed to help children cope with stress. However, there was one clear winner and that was Stress Buddy App pitched by Kara Thurkettle and Shaun Plummer. Their idea was clean and well thought out, it amazed the mentors and really impressed the judges – Stress Buddy is an app that helps people immediately manage and assess negative emotions such as anxiety using a series of coping prompts based on a combination of CBT (Conditioning Behavioural and Therapy principles). Very deserving winners with a superb idea, which they are working on to bring the App to life hopefully shortly – keep your eyes open for updates!
What is happening next year?
There are big plans underway to ensure that 2020 is an even better success that this year. Kicking it off with setting the date for the next 48 Hour Hackathon as 27th/28th/29th March 2020, with the theme of The Outdoors and Agriculture. No this doesn’t just mean farming, it can be ideas from a new piece of technology for harvesting crops to a self-steering windsurfing board; the possibilities are endless. The state of your idea is also flexible, you could have had an idea for a while which you’re just dying to share, something you’ve thought of on the spot, or even an app which you’ve written half of.
If you’re not convinced yet, there will also be bigger and better prizes up for grabs this year! So lookout for the new website coming in January for all the information – Innovate Suffolk and follow the LinkedIn page. Why not start getting a team together and thinking of some ideas to bring to the table! We can’t wait to get stuck in!