BioBoosters - Boosting the circular transition

The story about AlojasHackathon

15 December 2023
Technical details

Aloja Starkelsen Hackathon

Connecting 30 participants and 9 organizations across the Baltic Sea Region to tackle Aloja Starkelsen challenge of CMMS system improvement. The aim of the Hackathon was to find solutions to obtain a working, easy to use system that would allow saving natural, material and human resources, thus making Aloja Starkelsen products more competitive and greener. Aloja Starkelsen also wanted to include the company’ s buildings and infrastructure objects in the new system, link equipment with external service providers and spare parts suppliers, ensure fast response time and solutions for specific service tasks, as well as collect statistics and visualizations of various processes. Following an open call for solutions and a development phase with selected teams, the Aloja Starkelsen hackathon days were organized in Aloja, Latvia on 30th November to December 1st, 2023.

Read more about the process from the interview with Inguna Kucina from Vidzeme Planning Region as the expert and coordinator of the AlojasHackathon.

What makes BioBoosters Hackathon unique? 

It is definitely a format – hackathons are not new thing in Latvia, currently the offer is already almost oversaturated, at least 1-2 large-scale hackathons take place every month and they are no longer only in the IT sector. If usually a hackathon is the generation of ideas within 36-48 hours, then BioBoosters offers the opportunity for teams to delve deeper into the business challenge. After the Kick-off event, the teams are given an extra 2-4 weeks to work on the solution concept which is later improved during the hackathon days in consultation with company representatives and mentors.

What is the impact of the BioBoosters Hackathon? 

The BioBoosters hackathon creates the potential for international cooperation and allows companies to look at their needs from a new perspective. Sometimes a company has a problem, but it is difficult to simply define it in order tofind the most suitable service provider.

BioBoosters hackathon is like a bridge between companies and potential solution providers. In conversations with teams, we already hear that this is a particularly effective way for service providers to “get inside” the company and get to the negotiating table. Outside of a hackathon, such business discussions can take several months and not come to a concrete result, while a hackathon pilot allows it to be done faster and more efficiently. International competition is good sales training – you must be able to distinguish yourself not only in the local market, be ready to answer provocative questions not only from the potential client, but also from the mentors. It is a new experience and stepping outside the box, outside the usual cooperation model.

What kind of help you got from the international partnership in organizing a BioBoosters Hackathon? 

The involvement of international partners took place throughout the entire hackathon pilot process, starting from discussions about very practical organizational matters to active scouting of teams (Solution providers). JAMK helped with knowledgeable mentors from Finland, which perfectly complemented our team of mentors, which already included 3 Latvian industry experts.

What lessons would you like to share with other Hackathon organizers? 

Time resources are crucial – although hackathons are a great way to create innovations and establish contacts, it is often also a challenge for the company, as daily processes are still taking place, especially in manufacturing companies. The key to success is open and supportive cooperation, timely feedback, and willingness to seek a solution. One more thing: even if it is not the preferred format, do not be afraid to organize an event in a hybrid format – hey, in our hackathon pilot, the most suitable solution was created by a team working online from Finland.

Challenge provider: Who would you recommend this Hackathon process to? 

The authors of the challenge and technical director of “Aloja Starkelsen” Ltd, Jānis Blaumanis were satisfied with the positive experience, the progress of the hackathon and the solution obtained: “The hackathon, where CMMS system solutions were sought, was very successful. The participants came up with really good solutions and creative ideas. The event was a great opportunity for everyone to learn new things and network with other industry professionals. Overall, the hackathon was a great success, and we hope that all participants and mentors gained a lot of new perspectives for the future.”

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