The international Hack The Waste project allowed students to work in international and interdisciplinary virtual teams.
A group of DOBA Business School students from Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia have had an exciting weekend. They participated in the International Innovation Hackathon: Hack The Waste project that we organised together with UC Leuven – Limburg (Belgium), ITversity Belgium Campus (South Africa), Fontys University of Applied Sciences (the Netherlands), and the BA School of Business and Finance (Latvia). This year, students from Avans, University of Applied Sciences (the Netherlands) joined the hackathon for the first time.
This year, two companies were invited to join in the project, providing students with challenges and helping choose the winners, i.e. Komunala Brežice (from Slovenia) and Eko Baltika (from Latvia). Employees from both companies participated in the activity as graduates of business schools from Slovenia and Latvia. Company representatives presented two very different challenges for solving problems with waste (specifically plastic waste) and raising awareness of the issue.
International teams, CTRL ALT ELITE, The Innovators, Everything Under CTRL, The Waste Busters, Not Wasting Time, Waste Pro, The Dirt Bags, and The Mean Green, managed to carry out the whole process, from the idea to a proposed solution and the first prototypes, in twenty-four hours. They tested the feasibility of the solution with a concept, business model, assessment of marketing potential, preparation of a marketing campaign, risk assessment, and possible investments. Their results were exceptional, and included video games educating on the importance of responsible waste management, concrete products made from recycled plastic, applications that show the nearest local recycling points, online solutions that encourage consumers to purchase products in environmentally-friendly packaging, etc.
After the 24 hours were up, the jury comprised of company representatives, environmental activists, teachers, and other experts announced the two winning teams, Waste Pro and The Waste Busters. Waste pro offered a solution using recycled bricks for private and public use for the Eko Baltik challenge and The Waste Busters offered an innovative solution of linking an educational videogame with the actual impact on environmental protection for the challenge supplied by Komunala Brežice.
The Waste Pro team said:
“We will create a brand new product on the market that will be a result of the customers’ impact of reducing their own plastic and our creative way of how to recycle that plastic. The plastic retainer blocks will be of a specific shape. The shield will be made from durable plastic and the inside of the block will be filled with unsorted mixed plastic. That unsorted plastic will be collected from customers. According to our slogan of the company, ‘Put the waste in the right place’, our work is putting the unsorted waste from customers in our retainer block (inside our shell).”
The Waste Busters team said:
“We want to educate children to care about nature. We want to achieve that through a video game. With this game we also want to raise the children’s awareness of the importance of the environment and of waste separation. In this game, we will connect virtual life and real life and promote a clean environment. So we need to ask ourselves how to get what we need to make this project work. We believe that with education, we can get more people to separate their waste. This way, we may get a part of what we need for our project from the companies that would directly benefit from that. We could get another part from the local community, as we would have a cleaner environment if people were more aware. In the future, we are planning to get more of what is needed also from companies that worry about environmental issues. If our project works, we will also get what we need from advertising agencies.”
61 students joined this international virtual project, of those 12 motivated bachelor and master’s students of DOBA Business School. They did their job perfectly and coped with all the challenges that they encountered on their way. Three of our students were also members of the winning teams.
Such international virtual projects are a key element of internationalisation at home and enable students to work in international and interdisciplinary teams and gain new knowledge, they give them access to international teachers, enable the development of cross-cultural and digital competencies, provide an opportunity to improve their knowledge of English, meet new people, and of course gain an important reference.
Exclusive, the first digital certificates using blockchain technologies
For the first time, all participating students will receive their reference in the form of a digital certificate issued by all participating institutions in the Credentify system, a fact we are especially proud of. All participating institutions are advocates of progress in learning and have recognised the potential in the development of a new system of receiving micro-credentials in digital format based on blockchain technologies. The issued digital certificates are prepared using algorithms and stored in blockchain with all data provided by the institutions for the description of the knowledge that was gained by participating in the hackathon. Students can share their digital reference on social media and employers and educational institutions can check the certificate’s authenticity.