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MIC hosts first virtual North America hackathon: Geared for Good


MIC North America hosted Geared for Good from October 8th to 11th, 2020.

While a lot has changed this year, one thing remains constant – our sense of community. As everything was turning virtual this past March, our Hackathon Planning Committee at Capgemini’s Millennial Innovation Council (MIC) worked to create a digital space for coast-to-coast collaboration between innovators with a passion for social good. Three months into planning, we pivoted this in-person hackathon to be virtual across all North America and geared up for the opportunity to foster solutions for the community, by the community.

The challenges

The shift to a digital event allowed us to expand our audience reach to Capgemini employees and college students across the United States and Canada. Over 150 enthusiastic hackers joined us for this engaging four-day event, with one goal in mind: to solve for a post-pandemic society.

Hacker teams could pick between the three challenge streams below:

  • Digital learning: As most school environments shift to e-learning, these solutions were aimed at creating/enhancing online education platforms to increase accessibility and engagement.
  • Virtual volunteering: These solutions focused on building awareness of volunteer opportunities, both socially distant and remote, to bridge the gap between interested volunteers and those in need.
  • Hospitality industry shift: As airline and alternative lodging businesses keep up with COVID-19 regulations, these solutions were designed to earn back consumer trust and safeguard their travel experience.

The experience

The hackathon was jam packed with AWS lectures, an Employee Resource Group (ERG) panel with representation from various Capgemini ERGs, and Capgemini speakers ranging from our Quality Engineer Practice to our Invent Community Service Pillar. We even had fun breaks with Kahoot trivia games, shark-feeding stories, and more. MIC also added a Virtual Collab Challenge, designed to bring MIC members from different chapters together.

We are proud to have worked with some of our top technology partners to get this event off the ground, namely AWS, Red Hat, Salesforce, and SAP. The Geared for Good hackathon also partnered with a non-profit organization called Up with Women, whose founder and CEO Lia Grimanis served as a speaker and judge for the event. Up with Women works to support homeless women as they enter the workforce and is one of the many organizations that had to transition its business model due to COVID-19. This philanthropic partnership served as a great use case for the hackathon’s Virtual Volunteering challenge and shone a light on how events like these bring tangible solutions and manpower to businesses that need them the most.

Geared for Good not only provided participants the opportunity to create unique solutions using cutting-edge technology, it also gave our amazing mentors and judges a platform to interact with some of the brightest minds within Capgemini’s internal and external network. Our MIC executive sponsor, Andreas Sjöström, and our esteemed panel of judges – Kate Chan, Jennifer London, Lia Grimanis, Janet Pope, Sanjay Gupta, Kunal Jadhav, and Sergio Compean – brought a wide array of industry experiences and entrepreneurial spirit. The judges met with the co-directors early Sunday morning to spend the day selecting the first, second, and third place winners. The first round of judging consisted of sorting through all the solutions and their respective video demos and prototypes to narrow down the top five teams. These teams were then invited for a live Q&A session with the judges. After much deliberation, the top three winners were selected and announced at the awards ceremony. The winner of the MIC Virtual Collab challenge was selected by our MIC national leads.

Over 30 individuals volunteered their time last weekend to bring together a great event with some exciting prizes.

First place: WeGage focused on the Virtual Volunteering challenge. This team developed an application to personally connect volunteers with socially positive events, with an accountability and gamification system built in.

Second place: Fab Five focused on the Digital Learning challenge, developing an add-on feature for Zoom that provides closed captions, 1:1 teacher-student experiences, and motion-detected framing to support students within The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Third place: PYLON focused on the Digital Learning challenge. This team developed an online platform for young leaders to encourage them towards creative problem solving and collaboration.

Each member of the winning teams won the prizes below:

The first place team will present WeGage to Capgemini’s Applied Innovation Exchange (AIE) executives globally.

The Geared for Good team

Special thanks to our committee for spending the last six months arduously bringing the event to life,  for providing an unforgettable experience, and for kickstarting our community’s innovation journey. Check out the hackathon planning committee below:

This article was written by Bhavya Checker and Pravallika Nallamotu.