Within the framework of a two-day Hackathon, eight ventures were developed with the goal of presenting creative solutions which merge technology and innovation with the needs of various communities
The closing event of the Smart Communities Hackathon, a joint venture of The Institute by the Reut Group, the Sofaer International MBA, and the MBA program in Management of Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Tel Aviv University’s School of Management, took place last Thursday, February 25th 2016.
Within the framework of the two-day Hackathon, eight ventures were developed with the goal of presenting creative solutions which merge technology and innovation with the needs of various communities, as part of developing a product to the prototype stage. The Hackathon provided a space for students, social innovators and technology people to meet with representatives of community institutions, community centers for senior citizens and more.
Among the ideas that won first place was a venture to encourage activity of pensioners in the community, utilizing their unexploited social capital to promote social sustainability and inter-generational engagement. This venture enables pensioners to contribute to the community, enhances their sense of belonging and gives meaning to working for the benefit of the community. It is made possible by the development of an application that enables pensioners to meet with members of the community on the basis of professional expertise. Another venture, UpKeep, engages in establishing contact between social workers and organizations that aim to help those in need. It ensures that the aid is provided speedily and effectively, by means of an application that connects the parties involved. A particularly interesting idea presented is the Barili Venture – an application for managing a healthy lifestyle for people with disabilities. Other ventures address challenges such as multiculturalism in the community and encouraging neighborhood interaction, combating the ills of disadvantaged neighborhoods through solutions that provide education and employment for young people, creating social networks, and encouraging women on maternity leave to return to the workforce and advance in it.
Participants in the final Hackathon event included individuals representing a variety of organizations, including notable business people and entrepreneurs such as Dr Iris Ginzburg, Head of both the Sofaer International MBA and the MBA program in Management of Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Tel Aviv University’s School of Management, Netaly Ophir-Flint, CEO of The Institute by the Reut Group, Naama Klar, Team Leader for The Institute by the Reut Group’s Jewish World Task Force, Prof. Yoav Shoham, of Stanford University, a successful high-tech entrepreneur who made his fourth exit about a year ago, when he sold his startup Timeful to Google.
Members of the panel of judges were Adv. Eitan Atia, CEO of 15 Forum, Zohar Sharon, Chief Knowledge Officer, Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, Prof. Yoav Shoham, Dafna Lifshitz, CEO of Appleseeds Academy, Nir Shimony, co-founder of Tech for Good, Dr Iris Ginzburg, and Shirley Kantor, business and social strategy consultant.
According to Dr Iris Ginzburg, “contending with the challenges of creating smart communities gives our students the opportunity to deal with the latest issues of major importance to society and the community that are relevant on a global level, not only to the Israeli context. Through the Hackathon and similar activities, we connect technology to the social world, with the aim of revitalizing our communities and improving everyone’s quality of life”
In the words of Naama Klar, Team Leader for The Institute by the Reut Group’s Jewish World Task Force, “the community institutions of today have an enormous untapped potential to become a much more substantial platform for the public. If they adapt themselves to the changing reality in which they have been functioning for the last decade and start adopting more relevant working assumptions, like the need to work with community ventures, they will be able to become the power that can harness the public and seriously impact our daily lives.”