Bridging Gaps Through Innovation
Hackathons are typically dominated by tech people solving a problem or creating something new and improved. AABE’s mission is to address energy-related issues that disproportionately impact people of color and to promote diversity and inclusion among energy companies. The AABE Hackathon, “Bridging Gaps Through Innovation,” is a new way to affect change. The questions are
- What role should technology play in innovative energy solutions?
- How should we ensure diverse inputs are included?
Complex problem-solving is not new. However, addressing issues in the framework of a hackathon, with diverse participants, while applying principles of human-centered design, is new.
A New Kind of Hackathon
Bridging Gaps Through Innovation recognizes the need to connect real world business challenges to solutions that improve business results and impact quality of life. We will
- Develop new approaches to energy sector challenges with input from diverse members of the marketplace
- Advance corporate concept or project development toward commercial solutions
- Support startups’ solutions with an eye toward their integration into a commercial organization or launch
- Introduce students to business and community organizations as they engage in problem-solving for real world experience
This AABE Hackathon is an novel process that reaps the benefits of combining inclusion and cross-disciplinary thinking to develop innovative solutions for complex problems. In our approach, professionals, business leaders, academics, students from a variety of colleges and universities, data scientists, policy makers, and people from the community come together to work on discrete challenges where design thinking and technology are factors that can applied to the solution. Companies that are interested in advancing innovative solutions or collective problem solving of challenges that cross company, industry, and/or social boundaries can benefit from participation. They will receive positive visibility in addition to new insights into strategic challenges or problems by becoming a sponsor of the AABE Hackathon.
What makes the AABE Hackathon a unique approach that delivers high value?
- Inclusive participation that goes beyond data scientists to the intentional involvement of industry subject matter experts to maximize the benefits when technology intersects with energy
- Designated team leaders who provide background and insight into the problem statement
- Design thinking facilitation to ensure all team members participate in the critical groundwork of understanding the dynamics of the problem before solutions are considered. This leads to more meaningful outcomes in the limited time available
- Technology platform supports team members in working through implementation of their proposed solutions
How Does It Work?
Ten teams of eight to ten participants will each hack a different problem or challenge. Participants will prioritize up to three challenges that interest them. Final assignments will be made on the first day of the hackathon based on the problem and its alignment with participants’ skill sets and level of expertise. Hack teams will present their innovative solutions to a panel of judges, and will be encouraged to continue meeting to further their solution.
The AABE Hackathon, “Bridging Gaps Through Innovation,” will take place November 16-17, 2018, at the NYC Tandon School of Engineering. For more information and to register for the event, either as an attendee or as a sponsor, visit www.aabeevents.org.
About the Author
Larry Glover is a senior executive and business manager with expertise in brand marketing, strategic planning, and advertising. He is a former Fortune 100 marketing manager with a proven track record for building businesses and brands. He has also worked as a senior advertising executive and has extensive experience in national, regional, general market, and multicultural consumer marketing. He was elected in 2004 as one of America’s Outstanding Professionals.