#CommunityMatters #ItTakesAVillage #ReshapeTheFuture
What started on April 16th and finished on April 19th was the #WorldInnovationDay Hackathon. ~4000 people in attendance in Slack (organisers, mentors, participants and observers). At the time of writing this, there was the overpowering feeling of exhaustion and contentment with what has just transpired. (I will write another blog about some of the technology used). Let’s review some of what I saw as a Lead Mentor.
There are so many more things to do in the post-event phase that I hope that I can recover quickly to get on with what needs to happen and get the most of it the event. I wrote this other article from the previous hackathon. This is why it is still very busy.
Getting back to the #WorldInnovationDay Hackathon.
Monday April 12th – The Lead-Up Workshops
This event was not just a simple turn up and hack and done. There was much to learn and prepare in these situations. We wanted to give participants a running start before turning up on the 16th. So we curate a series of workshops that help participants to be in the right mindset and with the right set tools that they could use for the hackathon. The first one which was live only experience is available in a short replay format (here). The other workshops that we curated are available (here) in full.
I like to call out these presenters for their time, knowledge and contribution to this event. (roll-call).
- Peter Laurie – Director of Junta (here) for Group Mentoring with Peter Laurie.
- Saurabh Gupta – Oracle ACE (here) for Discovering Insights with Oracle Cloud.
- UQ Ventures (here) for How to make an impact (Market Validation)
- Avi Miller – Oracle (here) for Using Open-Source on Oracle Cloud
- QUT BANDS (here) hosts Kate Norris (here) for (Data) Storytelling and Pitching
- QUT BANDS hosts Rossana Bianchi (here) for Soft Skills in IT (AI Ethics / Trust)
Reach out and connect with them.
Slack Workspace – WOW
The hackathon converged on a single Slack Workspace as the main form of communication and engagement. Slack can be daunting if you come into a space. “Where do I go?” “What do I do first?” “How should I engage?” These questions are not any different in-person or virtually. Same applies in terms of walking into a room. The main thing was about getting involved. There were 1000’s of introduction messages and collisions of participants, teams and mentors that happen at scale. This was wonderful to see but also daunting. It was also easy to be invisible too which is fine if you have what you need to get the job done.
Friday April 16th – The Opening Ceremony
The kick off was emotional – the introduction by Gillian Triggs, Assistant Secretary General, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection – Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the opening ceremony set the stage for the next 72hrs.
There were a series of keynote speakers from across the world which set the scene – thanks Daniel Thomas for the role of MC.
I want to acknowledge the keynote speakers that provided much inspiration. This definitely set the stage for the rest of the weekend.
- David Thodey – Chairperson of CSIRO
- Vik Pant – Chief Scientist and Chief Science Advisor, Natural Resources Canada
- Laetitia Cailleteau – Managing Director DATA & AI Europe Lead, Global Lead for Conversational AI, Accenture
- Keith Strier – Vice President, Worldwide AI Initiatives, NVIDIA Corporation
- Chris Chelliah – Senior Vice President, Oracle JAPAC
- Kumar Parakala – President, GHD Digital
- Steve Nouri: Head of Data Science & AI, Australian Computer Society
BANG – GO …
The format was similar to other types of hackathons – Ideate / Solution / Pitch. This is no different in a virtual world. What I found was a hive of activity:
- Teams forming with organisers guiding participants through the Speed Meet’n’Greet process
- Teams finding mentors; mentors finding teams; mentors and teams conducting one-on-one sessions
- People researching the different challenges of the Sustainable Development Goals; People trying to find data, datasets, whitepapers, articles & APIs
- Mentors providing guidance, resources and encouragement to teams
- People working out the different timezones; People wondering if other people are there or not or sleeping or working
- Oracle Cloud environment being requested, provisioned, explored and demo’ed
- Uncertainty of what will happen; Where to go; What to do; Who to contact
This is natural, expected and part of the overall experience and how to work with it. There was a definite flow for the 72hrs – working across the teams, mentors and working with the Hackmakers team of the overall organising of the event. What I felt was:
- Timezones – When teams or people came online. This was a very important element of the hackathon as it drove home the need to work in parallel and not just together on one zoom call for the entire event. I got this lesson from Peter Laurie’s session about team dynamics.
- Diversity – This was something that was fantastic to see both in the mentors and the teams. Yes timezones were important for being together. The diversity in countries and skills was a way of working without borders.
- Collaboration – The way mentors worked, the way that people reached out other that they only met online (and not even one-on-one) was inspiring.
Check-Ins, Pop-Ups and Open-Mics
It’s a long time to sit and look at text-based interfaces and emojis. The blending of the human nature of the people in this virtual event is hard. These moments to get together were necessary. The human interaction of people and the necessity to check-in and in some cases check-out together is good for the mental state of mind. (Thanks to Janson, Lyn and Javier for sharing a couple of these on social media that I’ve used here). And a couple of special moments for me were Javier and his spacesuit; and brilliant open-mic interactions between Stuart, Bo and Lachlan around F1, Red Bull and Whiskey appreciation.
Tools Down – Team Submissions Are In
There was the usual rush at the end as the submission deadline came closer and closer. There was that “one last feature” to build. And then CLICK – SUBMITTED – DONE – SILENCE. I haven’t seen many of the presentations yet. Though I was able to find that have been shared publicly. I’ve added to this playlist (here). I will do another blog on #TeamsTribute after the Award Ceremony when the winners are announced.
So What’s Next?
From the previous Hackmakers hackathons that we sponsored, there have been the frequently asked questions and hence putting some of the answers down here.
Its a mammoth task. I don’t know the exact numbers so I can only guess but the numbers are huge and the numbers span the regions. Live pitching is just not practical in this format. So to go through the number of teams and judge them does take time. The Award ceremony is something to watch out for in the coming weeks.
ORACLE ALWAYS FREE TIER
Everyone that participated at the event were giving the option to get access to Oracle Cloud with $500 USD credits for 30 days. It wasn’t mandatory. For those that did, these accounts have access to the Always Free Tier – a set of services with service limits that are Always Free. To find out more (here).
It’s a valuable learning environment especially at events like this one. LiveLabs which you can find (here), are workshops / tutorials on many different topics related to Oracle Cloud. The ones that we focused on as part of the hackathon were related to Data Science, Low-Code, Cloud Native Apps and Analytics. However they are some many other workshops to explore into Digital Assistants, Blockchain, Security, DevOps, Integration, APIs, Data Management and Application Management. It’s worth checking out as there are plenty of things to learn.
This is more for institutions and educators where environments with cloud credits can be provided to student cohorts for free. There are also plenty of learning material (here) too.
ORACLE LEARNING EXPLORER / CERTIFICATIONS
Another path for learning is through Oracle University where they provide training and certifications on different solutions and technologies. Part of their offering which was introduced 2020 is Oracle Learning Explorer available (here). This is a fantastic resource as it covers not just technology but business solutions including Finance, Human Capital Management (HCM), Sales, Marketing and Customer Experience (CX).
As well as getting experience in events like this one, I have been asked by many students and recent graduates “What roles are there at Oracle?“
- We’ve got Student / Graduate programs in different parts of the world.
- We’ve got Internships including with the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure team.
All of these roles, programs and other career opportunities are (here). If you need some guidance, reach out to me personally and we can discuss it more.
ORACLE FOR STARTUPS / ORACLE FOR RESEARCH
If you are looking to build your startup or accelerate your research, there are two programs worth having a look. Oracle for Startups (here) and Oracle for Research (here) both provide a wealth of resources and network opportunities. If this is something that you are interested, reach out to me personally and I can help direct you to the people that can help.
There is a massive list of people to thank. This is not a simple undertaking and it is not something that I take for granted. #ThankYou to everyone.
I’ll be following this up with a couple more articles about the hackathon as well as the teams that contributed so stay tuned for more updates to come in the next few weeks.
#CommunityMatters #ItTakesAVillage #ReshapeTheFuture