Fraunhofer IMW

"Future Jam" - Digital Participation for Pupils

News | Leipzig / April 24, 2020

The digital participation offer "Future Jam" took place from April 24 to 26. The aim of the digital get-together was to formulate ideas and proposed solutions to current challenges with school children throughout Germany.

The current unprecedented situation of living and working during the pandemic and the challenges it poses to society, require innovative ways to develop adequate solutions. Based on the "Hackathon: #wirvsvirus" of the German government, the "Future Jam", which was initiated by SEED Education, offered students the opportunity to develop and conceptualize their own ideas and solutions for the current pandemic. In addition, social challenges that are currently being pushed into the background by the media, such as the lack of digitization in schools, the on-going climate change issue and diversity – to list just a few - were addressed. Under the guidance and support of mentors from the start-up scene and the social economy, about 100 students pooled their ideas.

As a representative of the Fraunhofer IMW's Innovation Financing Research Unit, Hanna Fiedler was an integral part of the digital event as a mentor on crowdfunding. The main objectives were a general empowerment of the students, the transfer of knowledge about crowdfunding and practical instructions for structuring one’s own campaign ideas. With the help of tools such as the Canvas business model, the participants learned how to turn an idea into a concrete solution plan. They also used creative methods to determine their target groups and took the first steps towards their own crowdfunding campaign.

Further Hackathon involvement

Not only was the "Future Jam" an instructive event for students but this was also the case for the participating mentors. Knowledge transfer in the best sense of the word was prevalent and this was particulary evident in the case of Ms Fiedler. She took part in the "Pan-European Hackathon: #EuvsVirus" and supported an international team in developing an app for career orientation. Later, she made the following positive statement: "I was able to use the indications that the pupils provided me with throughout the day at the Future Jam Hackathon, at night in the EU Hackathon teamwork". 

Hanna Fiedler was also involved in the local Hackathon Leipzig wirkt! from the Impact Hub Leipzig. Following the example of the Hackathon of the German Federal Government and the European Commission - the local Hackathon "Leipzig wirkt": for and by Leipzig was organised by the Impact Hub Leipzig GmbH. Anyone who was interested in the event was able to work together to find solutions to current challenges. Previous knowledge was not necessary for participation. To quote Hanna Fiedler from the Innovation Financing Unit: "The entire concept is not just something for tech nerds, even if the term hackathon might suggest it.

The commitment of Hanna Fieder is not an isolated case. Elizabeth Orta, a research assistant at the Fraunhofer IMW, took part in the German government's hackathon #WirvsVirus with her own project idea. The platform culturestreams.org was created in cooperation with developers, freelancers and students. The aim of the project is to support artists in overcoming the crisis. The platform collects digital cultural offers in a calendar and provides an overview of all current livestream events and dates of various cultural producers. The aim is to make the art of small and large artists accessible to a broad public. However, culture lovers should also be able to find exciting events more conveniently. For Elizabeth Orta from the Quality Management, Organizational Development and Customer Data Protection Unit, the hackathon was in retrospect a "great experience". For Mrs. Orta  the highlight of the Hackathon was the "the unbureaucratic and honorary cooperation with mostly unknown people and the non-profit oriented development of social solutions". She would like to continue the project after the crisis with the team that was involved in developing the idea. Therefore the team of Culturestreams around Mrs. Orta Ramirez is still happy to receive any kind of support.

Matching funds for the implementation of #WirVsVirus Hackathon ideas

All hackathons together have contributed to a collection of thousands of ideas and solutions, 1500 alone have come through the federal government's hackathon. These can add real value if they are implemented. The #WirVsVirus Matching Fund is currently looking for financial resources to turn ideas and prototypes into concrete products and services that can be widely used. Not only are projects of the hackathon addressed but also all those who develop relevant solutions for the Corona crisis. The Matching Fund is supported by the Hackathon organization team and is under the patronage of the Federal Chancellery.

The Innovation Financing Unit plans to support the project of Social Entrepreneurship Netzwerk Deutschland (SEND), Startnext and the Gemeinnützige Hertie-Stiftung in the current crowdfunding process. The Fraunhofer team of experts can draw on their research project expertise in crowdfunding, matching and innovative financing instruments