Hackathons as platforms for bringing together industries and IT sector to collaborate, build new products and solve business problems in a modern and rapid way.
So far, the Ministry of Economics has organized and supported, industrial and IT sector hackathons, public and IT sector public service hackathons and policy maker hackathons.
One of the most successful hackathons - X-industry, are practical events, introduced to encourage cross-industry dialogue and foster corporate innovations by companies from various industries who are ready to take up new challenges, experiment, and find digital solutions to their business problems. Going digital is the keystone of development in any industry.
The focus of the hackathon is cross-industry product partnership, and the format is simple: an industry company presents its business challenge, and an IT company looks for a solution according to its competences. This collaboration is to create new digital products and foster company growth. Every participant has a chance to get to know various industries, find potential business partners and customers, develop their teams’ expertise, and build a culture of innovation.
The first ever Public services hackathon – .tax blockchain hackathon, organized by Ministry of Economics in collaboration with State Revenue Service and Startup Wise Guys accelerator gathered over 40 participants from 11 countries. Four challenges were put forward for the IT sector experts and companies to explore by using blockchain technology in the fields of tax fraud, online cash register, digital transformation and big data.
Each hackathon requires around 10,000 EUR public funding with about the same amount of funding for the follow-up of the hackathon results.
Evidence of success
The industry companies present their business challenge, the IT companies choose the challenges they want to work with. The format we decided to test out was 5 weeks of mentoring sessions and independent work. In the end, from 6 teams which represented such industries as railway, forestry and manufacturing, 4 of them reached the final event, and, as far as we know, all 4 continue working together after the hackathon.
Potential for learning or transfer
Technology is developing rapidly today, so demand for nonstandard solutions is growing, which would reduce different costs for entrepreneurs and help them to develop more quickly, not only in Latvia but also in the international market. Almost every country, its institution and companies face modern age challenges whether digital or technological. Digital transformation is one of the essential tools to enable businesses to develop more successfully and rapidly. It can significantly reduce the daily costs of producing products or providing services, particularly in sectors linked to high production. Digitization is the key to thinking about future business opportunities in any industry.