How to win a Hackathon!

What is a Hackathon?

The TOBLOCKCHAIN team is very happy to have been part of the Dutch Blockchain Hackathon. But what is actually is a hackathon? To start off with the actual name of the event, no illegal acts are involved! There is no hacking in the sense of gaining unauthorized access to data systems. The Dutch Blockchain Hackathon was all about an interchange of creative minds and creating applicable solutions for the five industry tracks with the next generation technology, blockchain. The industry tracks at the biggest blockchain hackathon in history were: reinventing government, Identity, future of pensions international trade, entrepreneurship and the track which we won, energy!

For the Dutch Blockchain Hackathon, the TOBLOCKCHAIN team was driven by a strong vision to create value for society and for business. Our motto throughout the Hackathon experience: Chase excellence and success will follow.

Preparing for the Blockchain Hackathon

Three stages define a hackathon: preparation, programming and presentation/rewarding. Prior to a hackathon it is essential to prepare well. Choose the industry track that you feel most passionately for and develop your idea. For this we met before the hackathon to brainstorm. After a few hours of brainstorming and analyzing the energy market we came to our winning product idea, “Power to Share”.

Foto from celebrating wining the Blockchain Hackathon
After winning the energy track

Power to Share: Making green energy fashionable

“Power to Share” both solves a big problem in the energy market as well as offering future value. We want to bring back the control to the consumer and thereby solve the issue of lacking trust. “Power to Share” does this by offering control over the energy mandates and the creating insight over energy consumption and generation. Furthermore, we want to add future value to society and the market as a whole. Therefore, we added a clear overview of the sources of the energy used and produced, as well as the possibility to share the generated energy. We envision a sustainable world, were everyone generates their own green energy. Moreover, we wanted to create a market for the green energy to be traded on. “Power to Share” makes green energy fashionable!

The programming starts now.

After our vision was created, the harder part came, which was the programming. This happened during the hackathon itself. The team arrived and assembled on the Friday, the first day of the hackathon. After a few speeches the start signal was given and all the teams started to create their blockchain applications. The TOBLOCKCHAIN development team had two blockchain experts, two data analytics experts, one UI developer, one architect, one integration expert, one business analyst.

Working hard during the Blockchain Hackathon
The TOBLOCKCHAIN team working completely focused

Our programmers consistently remained focused, and worked hard, allowing them to finish all the five MVP’s (minimal viable product) by the night before the deadline. The five MVP’s that power to share brought to the table were:

  1. control of the energy mandates
  2. tracking the source of energy (green vs. grey energy)
  3. overview of energy generation and use
  4. a forecast of energy consumption
  5. the power to share energy with your community

For a preview of our app please watch this interview of Kaushik Khakhar!

The impact canvas

Besides the programming of Power to Share, a presentation had to be prepared using the impact canvas. Our Canvas had to reflect the entirety of the product, how it would impact potential users, as well as the current and future outlook of the product. This part was pretty fun, we were allowed to be very creative and actually cooperate with other teams. Of course our presentation wouldn’t have been what it was without the track sponsors brilliant constructive advice and help with making our project a real success. For the presentation we had to think outside the box. What else could we do with Power to Share?  Ideas such as gamification, reward systems and creating a platform were just a few of the features which came to mind. On top of that we created a solid business plan for our to be open sourced blockchain application.

What value does our product offer to society
The final impact canvas

The experience of winning the Blockchain Hackathon

Time was up on the programming part at exactly at 11 am on the third and final day, the nail-biting task of presenting was upon us! Every team had 10 minutes to impress the track sponsors with their ground breaking ideas. Our team had a gruelling 90-minute wait before it was our turn for our team captain Kaushik Khakhar to rock the presentation. The energy track sponsors gave us 15 out of 40 Frisbees (points) which were distributed amongst the teams and secured us the win. For this we want to thank our track sponsors from NuonGasunie and Energy academy Europe for all the support and advice that made “Power to Share” such a success!

Our key to success, Vision

A strong mutual vision existed within the team. This was achieved by four factors. First. Inclusion of the whole team in creating the product and vision. Second. Having a good set framework within which the product and vision was created. Third. Good sourcing of the team. And finally, a good central vision from the captain, who with passion and good management created enthusiasm for the event and who facilitated the feeling of importance in every team member.

Lessons learned from the Blockchain Hackathon

The main take-away from the Hackathon is that although there is lot of work, it is truly an incredible experience. It simulates learning and offers value for society, businesses and for participants. For individuals that are hungry for learning these events can strongly be recommended, no matter your background. If you are developer, it offers excellent possibilities to improve your skills and to speak to experts in each given field. If you are not a developer, it states no problem. Even for non IT individuals, it offers excellent insight into the IT world, a great networking platform, practice in presenting and how to thoroughly develop your ideas.

From all of us at TOBLOCKCHAIN thank you for reading!

p.s. if you have any questions about our app “Power to Share” please leave a comment here!