27th June 2019

HackFest is a county-wide project for young people to come together to create product prototypes that respond to the issues of the future. The heats this year were held at Plymouth and Exeter. The winners of the heats were invited to the final held at Sandy Park, Exeter as part of Venturefest.

The brief for this year was ‘Reimagine Your City, Reimagine Yourself!’ Participants were asked to think about designing new places to play, to live, to work, to shop, to eat and to be, as well as the way we move around, experience and interact with an urban environment and its spaces.

The broad theme gathered topics such as:

  • Mobility & transport
  • Low Carbon
  • Circular Economy & Regeneration
  • Community and Solidarity
  • Health and Wellbeing.

Returning to the South West for the third year running, Hackfest is a county-wide project across Devon for young people to come together to create product prototypes that respond to the issues of the future, led by Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs, Fab Lab Plymouth and Plymouth College of Art.

This year there were 100 participants from 6 schools and colleges across Devon. There were 20 Prototypes created addressing themes of climate change, water resources, urban agriculture and horticulture, gaming, urban mobility, leisure and fitness.

There were 15 industry professionals and experts supporting with knowledge in digital design and manufacture, start-up and enterprise, innovation, coding, circular and social economy models and sustainable design thinking.

Taking the same format as the Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs ‘Creative Jams’, each ‘Hackfest’ event will comprise a two-day ‘hackathon’ allowing local young people to learn new digital and enterprise skills, design new ideas, create products or services and pitch those ideas to experts.
Winners of the Hackfest pitching sessions, selected by expert judges, will go on to present their ideas to business leaders, investors and industry professionals at Venturefest South West in June.

On Monday 10th June 15 pupils from Stover split into 3 groups of 5 attended their workshops and then spent time coming up with a concept.

On Tuesday 11th June pupils worked in their groups to develop their ideas and come up with a prototype and a presentation. At the end of the 6 hour ‘hackathon’ they all pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. The judges selected all three teams from Stover to take the awards for ‘most investable’, ‘most impactful’ and ‘the best of the rest’ project. The teams were all delighted to be going through to the final at Venturefest.

On Monday 17th June we went off to Sandy Park to pitch the ideas in the final. The teams gave confident presentations to a room of industry experts and a panel of judges. They all performed with confidence and a clear idea of their products.

The three teams were again voted the best of the teams on the day. The project ‘Roundabout’ was voted the most investable. Project ‘Smart Step’ was voted the most impactful and ‘Recylcles’ was voted the best of the rest giving Stover a clean sweep of the awards.

The teams were congratulated for their professionalism shown in their pitches and the confidence with which they delivered them.

Where to next?