Posted: 28/11/2019

There’s something about a hackathon that is special, it’s not the non-stop coffee, pizza and sugary sweets, and it’s certainly not the fug of hard-working coders and creatives, it’s the team spirit and the sheer stunning range of amazing ideas that come out the other end of it.

We held our Envirohack in the Digital Jersey Hub, from 7pm on Friday 8th November until Sunday at midday – that’s 41 hours of non-stop work. The event was open to anyone, you didn’t have to be a techie and 12 teams consisting of 50 individuals: friends, work colleagues, Highlands College students, coding course graduates, and even a one-man powerhouse, took part.

Last year, the only female in the room was me as organiser, this time it was great to see five other women competing, let’s hope next year we can start to make that ratio more balanced than just 10%.

The challenge was centred around the environment, teams had to make something which targeted global and local environmental issues. That ‘something’ could be a website, prototype, app or business concept. At the starter’s orders, the teams split off into their huddles and the magic began. So too did the fun, it might have been a long session of coding and geekery but there was also plenty of laughter, so much so that I ended up with aching cheeks (not from chewing too many sweets), as well as tired eyes and feet.

Judging was at midday on the Sunday, when tired brains were fired-up to deliver a timed 4.5 minute pitch to a panel of judges and with an audience of friends family and work colleagues in attendance. Those with the difficult decision on who should win were: Werner Bornman, Head of Digital JEC, Rob Kirkby Head of Digital KPMG and Leonie McCrann, CEO British Isles, Marbral.

I have huge respect for everyone who pitched up over their weekend and presented the product of their 41 hours of Haribo-driven frenetic work. I’m also so pleased with the positive energy and buzz that was in the Hub.

In the end, only one team could win, and that was Nexus’ team Carbon Footer-Print: power of the social nudge, a dynamic, data-driven virtue signalling email footer for gamifying your environmental impact.

In 2nd place was Fitvo with their Out of the Box prototype, 3rd was the Jersey Coding course graduates, Coders with EnviroHero and there were two commendations: Team Sleepy with their floating electrostatic microplastic sieve for removing microplastic from our seas, and Paul Blampied, who proved that working alone could still produce amazing results – a portable air quality sensor

Everyone deserves recognition, so here’s the rest in no particular order:

  • Continuum – revolutionising Jersey’s transport system
  • iDO – EcoMapper for an on demand electric public transport
  • C5 – BeanPods a car-pooling app
  • Rory Steel – Poppy the Flower_Aid bot
  • PWC – revolutionising Jersey’s transport system
  • Drunk Tech – OffSett, a personal carbon tracking calculator
  • KPMG – Lessmiles, a local food sourcing app

Envirohack really showcased the raw capability of Jersey’s tech community, and I’m already looking forward to tackling more of the world’s toughest problems at the next hackathon. Perhaps you should join us!

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