On Saturday the 10th of March the EIT Alumni held their pilot challenge solving edition of the EIT Alumni Startup Days in Barcelona. During the course of a restructured and redesigned 12 hour hackathon over 25 participants were invited to tackle the tricky challenge of re-imagining the port of Badalona. A challenge fraught with multiple difficulties and dimensions, but one which ultimately offers the chance to make your mark on Catalonian history,
The EIT Alumni Startup Days are one of the flagship events for the EIT Alumni Community. Originally created in 2015, the idea for the event was born in the midst of an early EIT Alumni CONNECT event and was quickly scaled up by the community.
The first two editions; 2015 and 2016 took the form of multiple events running in tandem in major cities across Europe. Participants, largely made up of alumni, students and innovation enthusiasts came together to meet people from other parts of the EIT Alumni Community, form teams and embark on entrepreneurial adventures.
Although ultimately a success, the EIT Alumni Board questioned whether this event format perhaps needed some slight tweaking to keep up with the evolution of our community.
And so, after productive sessions at the EIT Alumni Board of Boards meeting and EIT Alumni CONNECT 2017, the new version was born! – The EIT Alumni Start up Days: Challenge Solving edition.
The structure is simple –
Step 1: find an innovative partner company.
Step 2: invite them to propose a challenge for the event,
Step 3, unleash the full potential of the EIT Alumni Community to provide solutions to the challenge.
For the Barcelona edition of our new event format, we were very lucky to have the support of Tataj Innovation as our partner company. Tataj Innovation help mid-size cities build innovation districts, making them an ideal partner for the EIT Alumni.
Daria Tataj, one of the first members of the EIT Governing Board and adviser to EU Commissioner Moedas, tasked participants with the mission of reinventing the Littoral Front of Barcelona:
INCUBATING A NEW INNOVATION DISTRICT IN BARCELONA: THE RECOVERY OF THE LITTORAL FRONT BETWEEN THE BADALONA PORT AND THE BESÒS RIVER
To sweeten the deal, Tataj Innovation offered participants with the best proposals a chance to join her and other local investors for a 24 hour Innovation Retreat at their new beachfront offices!
Over the course of an intense 12hour workshop, in the wonderfully apt setting provided by the all-green, zero-waste, beautifully-decorated Apocapoc, participants navigated their way through the ideation process with the support of the guiding hands of Francesco Bonadiman, our EIT Alumni Community Officer, and our on-site coaches who helped the alumni stay true to their course.
At the end of the day, four equally well developed yet refreshingly diverse proposals were pitched to the jury. These consisted of:
- The Bridge
Badalona as the connection point between Europe and China
- Badalona 4.0
Building an Artificial Intelligence Living Lab in the Iconic Besòs power plant
- eNeutral Badalona
Creating an energy neutral space that connects communities, public space, living and working space
- Opened Social Lab
A networking / innovation hot-spot that connects innovators to mentors, partners and investors
After much deliberation the jury finally came to a decision: not one team, but all four would be able to take part in the 24hour Innovation Retreat!
It was believed that because the challenge was so open, and due to the remarkable aspects of each team, the best thing for both the port of Badalona, and for the entrepreneurial enthusiasts at the event, would be to try and combine the ideas and collaborate further within the idyllic confines of Tataj Innovation’s Innovation Retreat.
Teams will reconvene again in late spring at the Innovation Retreat, we look forward to hearing how the ideas develop.
Thanks again to our organising team for all their hard work, Tataj Innovation for their massive support, Apocapoc BCN for their wonderful venue, and to our participants for making innovation happen!
The next EIT Alumni Startup Days is coming soon in Berlin! Stay tuned, and make sure to get involved!