“Yes, an adventure. Every Y4PT encounter is a true surprise, as we do not know how energies and minds will combine.” – Alessandra Gorini, Y4PT Founder
The year is no longer new. The urgency of January’s bright resolve has shifted footing to brace against February’s demands. And already February has drawn to a close, the pattern of the year following its familiar route; the desire-line of our lives scuffing and shaping a dusty track through our sleek vision of 2019.
The very new feels clean, perfect. Anything is possible. But after that first breath – of the year, of the season, of the day – must come another, and another. And the air we breathe is rarely clean. The routes we take are rarely perfect. Our new-ness meets the challenges of the world it inherits, and it is changed.
For Y4PT, and all of us in Transport innovation, this is not just a thought to entertain at the shifting of a season, but the practical, complex, living territory we work within – and work to shape. We build a shared future, together, one new event at a time. Fresh faces, fresh cities, fresh ideas, fresh supporters, fresh challenges. Every time new, and every time changed; through collaboration, and a race to create real solutions to local and global problems. What does it really mean to be, to speak and to create “new”?
We may all strive to build successful, healthy, brave and lasting new solutions, but how do they develop and thrive? The answer may lie in the way they are created, something the Y4PT fellowship seeks to foster in every engagement.
“Creativity is about mixing two or more components in a new and different way. In order to create something completely new, you need to put in contact ‘components’, and the more different these components are, the more revolutionary the potential ideas that can be born from these connexions will be.” – Ignacio O’Mullony, Designer, Y4PT participant and winner.
Participants are drawn to each Hackathon from diverse backgrounds. Young mobility professionals form teams with coders, planners, designers, creatives, engineers, entrepreneurs and business developers. High-level students of multiple fields including sciences, humanities, arts and engineering join forces with professionals to combine cutting-edge research with specialist knowledge and experience in ways many think-tanks and forums seek, but never reach. Mentors in business, technology, policymaking, social science, arts and research lead workshops, introduce tools and provide feedback throughout the development of each idea.
In the Global Hackathons, and increasingly at even the Local Hackathons, participants and mentors arrive from many countries. Travel carries fresh approaches, experiences and skills from one place to another with these people, and carries the people to fresh approaches, experiences and skills of their own; which in turn carry onwards. Arriving in each new location, we experience the immediate reality of mobility challenges and opportunities, in the context of new languages, foods, smells, dreams, and dances; along with new technologies, techniques and team-mates. The ideas are created in an atmosphere of change – not just resilient to it, but thriving.
“Each one of us lives different experiences depending on where we live, and Y4PT Ring is unique in creating the environment for talent to merge, introducing passionate people that otherwise would have never met.” – Ignacio O’Mullony, Designer, Y4PT participant and winner.
The value of this growing community of ideas, teams and talented individuals is recognised by participants, mentors and partners alike, with long-term and transformative benefit travelling beyond the event into lives and careers.
“Since the hackathon, my job did change […] innovation became a much bigger part of it. I co-started an “innovation lab” at our company, where we do small “hackathons” to try new things and build new and exciting things. With the whole company, we also had a hackathon (60 people joining in) where last year we built chatbots and this year we’ll explore AI and streaming data. I also try to be involved in public hackathons as well, sometimes as coach, sometimes as participant.
I’m leading a team of 5 people, where we deliver services around ‘analytics & insights’, where we use modern data engineering, analytics & visualisations to help companies understand and make use of their data.
In the way we work, I use what I learned at the Y4PT hackathon a lot!” – Thomas Michem, Information Architect, Y4PT participant and winner.
Y4PT participants arrive with the active skills and adventurous, committed spirit that brings them to the event in the first place, already setting them apart from the crowd. Through participation they gain unique, shared, global experiences. Rich with adaptable insight into challenges and successes beyond the borders of familiar locations, disciplines, sectors and technologies, they create connections that bring them into the heart of mobility transformation.
“[I] gained contacts to 2 local municipal entities, that are interested in making cities and traffic better. So we’re testing a pilot project with IoT sensors for monitoring noise to be able to send notifications of unexpected noise directly to police. […] One of the municipal contacts I mentioned put a trust in us with the pilot project because of the success on hackathons. I write hackathons, because 2 months after the Montreal hackathon, my colleagues went to another local basically regional one oriented on transport and they also won. So I believe Montreal triggered a long term reaction…” – Tomáš Kouba; Biz Dev, UX, Marketing, Y4PT Hackathon participant and winner
Sponsors, supporters and partners are increasingly proactive in valuing and supporting the talented teams and fresh solutions emerging from the Hackathons; providing much-needed resources to bring them to the next level.
“After the hackathon we’ve been invited to E-Lab, a 4 months acceleration programme hosted by Polihub (startup incubator at PoliMi), which helped us giving a more solid structure to our business idea. Next steps we achieved were to build our website, create a first business plan and design the early version of our smart lock. Right now we’re looking for funds to start production of prototypes and to develop our mobile app.” – Gianluca Geneletti, Energy Engineering student, Y4PT Hackathon participant and winner. Hoc Founder.
These events bring established operators, planners and organisations together with new mobility professionals, willing and capable of making real solutions that others only talk about. The future of mobility, walking straight from a Hackathon into work right now. Picking up tools and building what is needed, rather than what is expected.
“We are [now] currently in Moscow Metro and working on mobile app […] We fully reinvented current mobile app and made a big work of changing UX and UI [and] there are a lot of other activities. […] I’m developing clickable future subway scheme and 2 mobile ipad apps (poll, feedback and so on) for Metro`s exhibition. Vladislav [is] working with documentation. […] Nikolay has finished developing official Moscow metro book website […]. Also we are working on software for new subway info screens – with route planning and other stuff.
Also I didn’t mention FIFA World Cup and our activities during [the] tournament. Our team […] developed integrated special module named «FIFA» – live broadcasts of matches just inside app, live and past results, upcoming matches, info for fans, 7 languages and special accredited taxi with permission to stadium entrance. Just inside this module, sounds crazy ;)” – Rimikhanov Guseyn; IOS Developer, Manager, Y4PT Hackathon participant and winner.
Participating in, supporting or working on Y4PT Hackathons provides a unique experience of the new. It is the most extreme, most shimmering example of new-ness every time – collaborators, countries, technologies encountering each-other for the first time. Hackathons are short – they are intensely new, competitive, then they are over. Then they are new again.
It is the “again” where things get interesting.
Y4PT has been running now for fourteen years. It has presented over one hundred events in over fifty locations worldwide, each time iterating, improving, and sharing this learning. Y4PT builds unique experience in discovering, creating and developing the full potential of the new.
A particular element of a Y4PT Hackathon is the balance between competition and collaboration. Each event is competitive, seeking a winning idea to develop, and talented team-members to invite to the finale. But the reason behind the competition, the speed and the high-stakes challenge is clear. The problems to be solved are urgent and global, and the stakes are our lives. What is accelerated here may be businesses, may be careers and may be technologies, but the real momentum to provide clean, accessible, healthy mobility can only be built together; pushing each-other on, sharing and improving at each iteration, and always aware that what is created in each of these moments can make a real difference.
“I’ve attended many hackathons, but I have never felt the same spirit of co-operation and energy to create new things that can make a change in the world” – Ignacio O’Mullony, Designer, Y4PT participant and winner.
However carefully we may plan for the future, desire-lines will always criss-cross our expected routes. But what if those desires are for the health of each-other and our planet? What if those desires are for a thoughtful, adaptive, welcoming world? What if we walk that track together?
What if by doing, we choose the shape of the new?
— L H Trevail, Southend On Sea, UK, 28/02/2019