12 September 2019

WorkInProgress, Absa’s Innovation Lab, hosted a hackathon in Cape Town last week where students, business and academia came together to develop ideas on what Africa can do to influence the current and future industrial revolutions.

The challenge of the hackathon was to develop solutions to activate the financial sector in Africa’s fifth industrial revolution in order to access opportunities for integrating business and academia. Participants from a number of African countries, between the ages of 20 and 55, gathered at the Absa Dome on the side-lines of the World Economic Forum on Africa 2019, where this year’s theme was ‘shaping inclusive growth and shared futures’ in the current industrial era.

“Absa committed in 2018 to being a force for good and playing a shaping role in society,” says Charmaine Lambert, Manager at WorkInProgress, Absa’s Innovation Lab. “The WorkInProgress centre is key in facilitating and hosting debates and events aimed at finding new solutions that will ultimately make a difference in people’s lives.”

“Africa is not a bystander in the current or next industrial revolution,” she explains. “We have a significant part to play and events such as this hackathon give people from all walks of life the opportunity to bring solutions to the table.”

Lambert adds: “The winning team, who named themselves ‘Green Rover’, came up with a solution-driven platform called ‘Inte-Grate’, an idea which won them R40 000 and the opportunity to further develop and co-create their concept at our Innovation Lab.”

“Their solution is essentially a web and mobile platform, which is integrated into our education system that uses competitive and reward-based incentives to teach people about technology,” she explains. “The futuristic financial adviser will provide advice that is stored in a blockchain database.”

On how the winners were selected, Lambert says that they were adjudicated by a panel and judged on specific criteria such as teamwork, ideation process, thought process during the challenge, originality, uniqueness and execution of their solution.

“It was a very inspiring and innovative day with our 16 participants from South Africa, Rwanda, Congo, Kenya, Zambia and Israel and we are very fortunate to have such great minds to help our continent move towards future industrial revolutions,” concludes Lambert.

For more information, follow @WIP_CT (Twitter) or @Workinprogress (Facebook).