Apps to improve mobility, schemes to reduce food waste and a social network to help students find work are just some of the solutions to real-life problems that have been designed by the 30 students taking part in the TalentUO Hackathon on 30 and 31 October, promoted by the Banco Sabadell Foundation and coordinated by U4IMPACT, as part of the University of Oviedo’s TalentUO initiative, which aims to support and give visibility to young talent.
The students, with the help of Banco Sabadell employees volunteering as mentors, searched for solutions to some of the challenges faced by five companies: MBA, Phoenix Contact, Fundación ONCE and Cátedra Concepción Arenal y Corteva, hoping to win a trip to Boston to take part in the Richi Entrepreneurs immersion programme. The challenges, all related to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, were the following: how to improve the life of children and teenagers with achondroplasia, how to create a universal fast-charging device for electric vehicles, how to design a solution to make it easier to choose a certain career, how to reduce food waste in supply chains, and how to attract and retain young talent.
The winning solution was designed by Elvira Santos, Pablo García, Ignacio Caamaño and Aida Martínez, who came up with a solution to improve the lives of children with achondroplasia, consisting of a virtual reality app with interactive games that increase joint mobility and offer motivation and opportunities for social interaction to complement their rehabilitation process.
“The key to our success has been interdisciplinary teamwork. For us, the biggest challenge was to find a realistic solution, to correctly identify the problems faced by young people and adjust the design multiple times until we found the right version, and also not to let ourselves get carried away by our dreams and future ambitions,” the winning team explained.
The individual award to take part in Richi Entrepreneurs went to Elvira Santos: “For me, as a medical student, it is really important to take part in events like these which are so multifaceted, as us medics can bring a lot of different perspectives to the table. I have learned to view the same solution from different branches of knowledge, to receive feedback I didn’t necessarily like hearing, and to recognise my mistakes and change them. Even so, I am over the moon to have won a trip to Boston, where I hope to do some networking before returning to Spain with my batteries fully charged.”
The hackathon, in addition to promoting cooperation and entrepreneurship, has allowed the participating teams to put design thinking into action in order to enhance lateral thinking, entrepreneurial spirit, innovation and creativity, applying it to real-life cases and through interdisciplinary work. To that end, three Banco Sabadell employees volunteered as mentors to guide and advise the teams as they searched for the solution.
Ana Pangua, head of Organisation and Human Resources at Banco Sabadell’s Northwestern Territorial Division, explained what it was like to take part in this initiative: “From my point of view of Human Resources, a hackathon gives us an opportunity to get to know young talented people, understand how they use new technology and how they interact with each other, and it also helps me to know more about young people’s interests. I have learned that the new generations are very proactive, they have an excellent grasp of technology and great teamworking skills, which sets them apart from older generations such as my own.”
Find out more about what the experience was like for both students and mentors: