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Appruption: making the world a better place, one app at a time

  • Posted on July 14, 2016

AppRuption

A couple months ago, I was asked to support a team of students participating in the AppRuption hackathon, a two-day hackathon organized by the province Flevoland and University Windesheim Flevoland. The goal of this event is to bring together companies and students and have them collaborate on new business ideas around the theme of a sustainable and healthy city. It is a fantastic opportunity to unleash the creativity of young people in helping us solve some of the world’s most challenging problems, and I was honored to be asked to participate.

On the first day, the students worked together to come up with an idea that would help communities and cities be more sustainable. The ideas were vast and varied: from creating healthier lifestyles to improving air quality through more efficient use of the means of transport. The goal was to create a solution that “wowed” the audience, was technically sound, and feasible in cost. On the second day, companies involved with the event, like Avanade, joined students in creating a prototype of their idea. At the end of the hackathon, the teams presented their idea and business case, and showcased a prototype of their solution.

The team I worked with set out to build an app that rewarded people who maintained a healthier life style. Rewards could be discounts, free shipping, buy one get one free offers, etc., and could be earned by performing different challenges. The challenges could be anything from walking 1km to heavy sport activities like 100km cycling. Additionally, they could also earn rewards by participating in larger, organized activities, like a race. The idea was to motivate the user to get moving and make healthy choices.

We decided to split the team up. Half of them worked on the backend development and the other half on the front-end application and visuals. It was great to see that even though programming experience varied from person to person, each individual added value and contributed in a meaningful way. We made a small but working prototype of the Android app with a backend running in Azure, but even more satisfying was seeing the confidence in the students grow as they worked together to build a working solution. In fact, many were willing to skip lunch because they were so excited to keep working on the app – not many people are willing to pass up a good meal!

At the end of that second day the students pitched their app to a jury. Based on originality, the business plan and a working prototype, the jury chose one team as the winner. And while my team didn’t win the hackathon, the results of the team working together and seeing businesses collaborate with students to build powerful solutions was amazing. The work that came out of AppRuption was impressive, and I’m thrilled to see that the future of tech innovation is alive in well in the next generation!

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