As mentioned in the previous post, the three grand prize winning teams of the Sanitation Hackathon boarded from their home countries – Indonesia, Senegal, Tanzania, and the UK – for a week-long trip to Silicon Valley, hosted by IDEO.org. They met with companies such as Zynga, the world’s leading social gaming company, Facebook, the social network giant, AirBnB, a travel site, The Hub, a collaborative work space, and Indiegogo, a crowdfunding platform. The young web developers learned about the importance of data, how to reach large networks, why trust and collaboration are key, and what makes a crowdfunding campaign successful.
Besides meeting with the most innovative tech firms, one of the highlights was the workshops at IDEO’s office in Palo Alto. Engineers, app developers, designers, and interaction specialists taught human centered design principles, which were applied in real-time by the teams. For example, an exercise to design an app that reduces corporate food waste sent the participants out to conduct interviews with stakeholders, brainstorm about their apps, and rapidly prototype their ideas. “The exercise made us realize the importance of getting concrete and first-hand feedback from users before starting to write any code” said Florian Rathgeber from team Taarifa.
The three teams, mSchool, SunClean, and Taarifa, are now back in their home countries eager to apply everything they learned. Stay tuned for more updates about their experience. In the meantime, see two videos below that highlight the events.