Part 2: What to expect at hatch? What happened last year

  Hatchers chatting with Anne Boden, CEO of Starling Bank

Hatchers chatting with Anne Boden, CEO of Starling Bank

Over the weekend of 25-26 November 2017, Hatch London was held in the Ministry of Justice in Westminster. A one-of-a-kind hackathon, the 20 teams, composed of an equal split between genders as well as skill-sets showcase just how diversity can be the cornerstone of innovation. The unique concept was conceived by SheCanCode and became a reality in partnership with UCL Entrepreneurs and hatch’s sponsors, with Google Deepmind, XTX Markets and Vodafone being the headline sponsors. Apart from providing the event with a beautiful venue, delicious F&B and enticing prizes, sponsors also sent representatives to mentor our teams.

  Representatives from Vodafone are allocated to mentor teams

Representatives from Vodafone are allocated to mentor teams

  Technical and non-technical hatchers put their heads together with their mentor to create an app-based solution for a UNSDG

Technical and non-technical hatchers put their heads together with their mentor to create an app-based solution for a UNSDG

Starting off with four opening speeches, by Nicole (co-founder of SheCanCode), Tilly (Director of Women In Tech at UCL Entrepreneurs), Anne Boden (CEO of Starling Bank) and Paula Muldoon (violinist and software engineer), participants got a feel for the motivation and rationale behind the concept of hatch, as well as how diversity is key to innovation, and how coding can help mental health. The teams then embarked on the first of eight sprints over the weekend: carrying on from discussions they had when they virtually met over Slack, Sprint 1 got the teams thinking about how to solve the UN Sustainable Development Goals each team is particularly passionate about, conducting problem research and ideation. This led on to Sprint 2, which prompted teams to test their solutions and start prototyping their product ideas.

  Eddie Jaoude leads our workshop that taught non-technical students how to write their first line of code!

Eddie Jaoude leads our workshop that taught non-technical students how to write their first line of code!

Once teams were ready to start coding their products, but those who did not yet have coding skills were certainly not left out; instead, Eddie Jaoude, 2015 & 16 Top Trending Opensource Contributor on Github, gave them a taste of what their coder peers were up to in his beginner’s workshop ‘You Can Code, Too!’. Building on this basis, coders joined non-coders in the next two more technical workshops, Vodafone’s ‘Pandas & Data Analysis’ and Google Deepmind’s ‘Sprinkle Your App with TensorFlow’.

Back in the boardroom, as coders hack away well into the night, iterating through their solutions through testing (Sprint 4), while non-coders start thinking about how to to monetise the app (Sprint 5). With some teams having worked overnight, the teams gather for another early start on Sunday, focusing on growth hacking/marketing their apps to their target audience (Sprint 6).

  Hatchers and mentors all knee-deep into Sprint 4 (Coding)

Hatchers and mentors all knee-deep into Sprint 4 (Coding)

While it is hard to put all of this work into a short, 10-minute final pitch, everyone is encouraged to practice saying at least a line for the final showdown: demo time! The judging panel, composed of representatives from our sponsors (including the Ministry of Justice, Vodafone, Google Deepmind and XTX Markets) heard 13 brilliant ideas. The three teams who impressed the judges the most were Farmchain (helping farmers trace the location and medical history of livestock), Integrate (an app that helps newly-arrived refugees navigate the complex bureaucratic processes) and Auntee (guiding pregnant women through their pregnancies through a chat function). The winners received fast-track to internships/graduate roles with a selection of our sponsors, Microbits, Amazon Echo Dots and much more exciting prizes!

 A technical hatcher (Lead Developer) from the winning team, Farmchain, leads the final pitch

A technical hatcher (Lead Developer) from the winning team, Farmchain, leads the final pitch

Caroline Holmes