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Africa University To Host “Dining Hall” Hackathon: Cool Idea

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Typing on laptop

i5 Hub is hosting a pretty interesting hackathon at the Africa University in August. The Dining Hall Innovation challenge might sound gimmicky at first but there’s some really potent lessons that can be taken from it.

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What’s the problem being solved?

The call to action for the Dining hall challenge reads:

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Tired of long queues in the dining hall and wish to make a change???

Whilst this may seem trivial and akin to a sick joke that shouldn’t get coverage I really like the idea. Why?

Problems solving

One of the complaints constantly raised in Zimbabwe today is that “the educated ones” aren’t very good at problem solving. I’m sure there are many other problems and that’s an oversimplification of things but there is some truth to that statement. So what’s a better way to solve that than getting people to solve the problems right in front of them?

For AU, students it seems the dining hall queues are an issue and if a student can solve that challenge, why not let them and save thousands of students time? It’s a pretty straight-forward view but sometimes the simple answers are the best ones.

For the guys solving the problem, it becomes clear that problems are not huge insurmountable mountains that always need millions of dollars to get off the ground but just a solution that makes people’s lives easier and you can kick of from there. This is the same thinking applied in world-renowned education institutions where students come up with amazing creations because they’ve been given room to create.

Anyway, enough of my rumbling and more details regarding the challenge itself:

The dining hall challenge will follow these stages:

  • Registration: 17 May – 16 August
  • Pitch Submission: 19 August
  • Pre-election: 20 – 23 August
  • Qualifiers announcement: 26 August
  • Full project submission: 28 August
  • Finals: 30 August

Participants will be required to submit an outline of their idea and how it solves the problem. Interestingly, the participants are also supposed to pitch how the solution can be scaled into a successful business model. A queue-ending business can be scaled across the country I suppose.

Interested groups that want to register for the innovation challenge should do so here. It’s only open to students from AU and the top 3 teams will get cash prizes.


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