IT-Ideathon in Divnomorskoe, Russia – an innovative workshop to tackle climate change with internaional academia industry experts

IT-Ideathon set up as a joint effort of SAP University Alliances CIS and Silicon Valley took place on the Black Sea coast, Divnomorskoye, Russia from 3rd to 5th September 2021.

70 students from 15 UA-member universities (MIPT, St. Petersburg State University, MIIT, HSE, Norilsk Industrial Institute, Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Voronezh State University, Ural State University of Economics, Belarus State University, St.Petersburg Peter the Great Polytechnic University, University of Muenster (Germany)  and others) took part in event both virtually and in-person.

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On the event 1st day, participants were offered a lecture about design thinking by Sohyeong Kim (executive director of the Stanford Center at the Incheon Global Campus, Stanford University) from South Korea. It was followed by another lecture about the ecology of the Black Sea delivered by Anna Gurevich, a senior researcher of Russian Academy of Science Oceanology Institute.

Both lectures were a great source of insights and inspiration for the students and young professional expert teams to jump-start their creative process build up around design thinking process and moderated byVictor Taratukhin and Yury Kupriyanov, of SAP University Alliances Silicon Valley and CIS, respectively. While following the steps of design thinking process teams interviewed experts which were present at the event venue (GazPromOil, IBA Group, Napoleon IT, Russian Power Grids) as well as connected via zoom remotely (SAP Japan, SAP CIS). Further it is important to mention the unique working conditions, the event was held on the summer scene, so the students worked outdoors on benches or directly on the Black Sea shore. They used design thinking methods and templates to organise their team work, extract insights, generate ideas in divergent mode and come up to consensus in convergent one.

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At the end of the second day 11 teams presented their sustainable business ideas and models in front of the expert jury chaired by Andrey Filatov, SAP CIS MD. The team «КосаITики» from Voronezh State University introduced the best project – automatic recycling machine that could be implemented in shops and supermarkets. According to their idea, users can bring recyclable garbage to these mechanisms and get rewards for it. It will stimulate people to hand over waste to recycling collections points. The team generated the tangible model of the mechanism, the 3D prototype, and the telegram-bot. The second-best teams were «RainbowPls» from Belarus State University and «I-Plekhanov» from Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, they developed an app prototype to motivate citizens to be more ecologically friendly and another app prototype «Track&Trash» to help people find recycling dumpsters and follow eco-habits respectively. The third-best solutions were presented by the students from Far Eastern Federal University and a joint team of HSE and Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas who proposed the ideas of the disposal of underwater mustard gas burials and bugs farm correspondingly.

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The tools, ideas, and proposals submitted through the innovative workshop – IT-Ideathon were reviewed by a diverse jury. The judging criteria included relevance to the SDG topic, innovation, teamwork, and prototype (visual, functional, and formal component). The jury consisted of business and science representatives. The solutions provided by the teams during IT-Ideathon could be used both for educational and business innovation purposes.