SEE event at Stephen Lawrence Trust

It was a pleasure to facilitate another Hackathon-like event at the Stephen Lawrence Trust on 29.06.2018. This non-profit organisation which delivers innovative programmes for disadvantaged young people in South London hosted an event and made us feel enormously welcomed.

Three groups of 12 year old school children were introduced to a problem to which they had to create a mobile solution. Aga Gajownik SCRUM creator method and facilitator explained in details how school pupils would fill the tasks step by step. There were six speeds (parts) of the competitions, 30 minutes each.  Aga Kurzawa (Innovation and Integration event facilitator) mentored the children at each of the speeds.

The primary goal was to create a mobile app to end poverty for those students whose parents cannot financially provide the support for them to have work experience in bigger cities. During the first part, students brainstormed and created a “user persona”: “Hi, I am John, I am 15. I live so far away and my parents cannot afford to send me to the city for me to get the work experience I need for my future career”. Later on, during second-speed school mates designed the idea of how they can solve this matter with a mobile device. Their creativity was countless: the concept shows a virtual card with money added for John’s account to get to the city, sponsored by individual donors. In the next part, children designed a front-page of application and drew features such as face recognition security and biometric fingerprint, account money, bus route, terms and conditions, job vacancies. Quite brilliant minds!

The next part applied to the business model. How will we make a sum of money from it? Aga shortly explained what the communications channels are and which works the most. How can the funds be raised from? It was worth to see how kids were self-manageable and looked for the answers on their mobile devices. How my generation lived without “I’m gonna answer any question you like!” I am not entirely sure. It was a piece of cake to come up with an idea that money can be raised from angel investors, crowdfunding and accelerator platforms. Thanks Google search for the tips.

The last part (after yummy pizza time for everyone), the three teams were ready to pitch. Aga mentored them before to make sure that each presentation was built from 5 parts: user persona, primary purpose and design, business and communication models, the position held and “why choose us”. Teams practiced for a short while to present themselves as well as they could.

All three teams were winners. Each participant added some value in their pitch.

This hackathon clearly shows that children have countless creativity, but they need a mentor to show, encourage, explain and lead towards one goal. Children didn’t have any problem choosing the position for themselves starting from CEO, business developer to app designer. Kids spontaneity results in an incredible outcome which is a ready product designed from scratch. They are incredibly hungry for knowledge, but the trick is getting this knowledge presented and delivered. Learning is much more efficient through experience. During a final chat, all kids learnt something new – what is a UX designer, why is it worth having a structure to implement an idea, is it worth having a social impact to help their disadvantaged colleagues?

Simply put, it was a fantastic learning experience for everyone. We all learnt how to be winners.


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