Mobilizing Development Mechanisms – Hackathon on social initiatives

The Master of Development Management Class of 2017 and the Stephen Zuellig Graduate School of Development Management (ZSDM) co-organized a hackathon entitled “Mobilizing Development Mechanisms (MDM)” last October 21 to 22, 2017 at the Asian Institute of Management. The hackathon, a design sprint-like event engaged computer programmers and others software developers to work on software projects. In this event, software projects or designs were developed to help solve development issues on health, education, employment, disaster, and agriculture, among others, in line with the goal of helping achieve the 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals.E_2016_SDG_Poster_all_sizes_with_UN_emblem_Letter copyDr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go, Head of ZSDM, noted that the MDM Hackathon 2017 was an innovation itself. “For one, it demonstrates that complex development problems are to be addressed by 21st century disruptive solutions outside of the traditional and conventional solutions and created by millennials of our society. This is bridging a divide.  Secondly, this is the first time an AIM competition is held in this area and more than this, it is led by students from MDM. This demonstrates a good laboratory for our graduate students to apply project management and we hope to replicate this in succeeding years to come. Thirdly, we are thankful to the sponsors, mentors and the judges who are crazy to believe in our dreams for meaningful solutions.” Moreover, MDM Class President Crystal Anievas noted, “The MDM Hackathon offers a new way to approach development challenges.”


The former Country Director, World Bank Philippines, Mr. Motoo Konishi, gave an inspiring message at the event. He was amazed at how the Hackathon created disruptive innovations by providing technological solutions to sustainable development problems and deviated from the traditional way of coming up with solutions, which usually required months of studying the problem, writing a concept note, getting it approved, and looking for funding. “The Philippines needs to harness technology, the digital revolution and disruption to raise itself to the global level, and use this as a means to solve the great social problems that we have been talking about today.”


The competition witnessed participation from 14 teams and 51 participants. They had 24 hours to come up with innovations to support sustainable development goal. The hackathon was intense and lasted the whole night. Team members took turns to take power naps.

At the end of 24 hours, the teams came up with 8 Health Apps, 3 Disaster Response Apps, 2 Agricultural Apps and 1 Education App. Through the solutions, the teams were able to tackle 8 SDG goals. The best 3 teams were given awards.


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Team Eleartech, whose design involved agricultural SEEDS distribution app, won first place. “It has always been clear in our team that we will be involved in cause driven innovations. This hackathon enhanced our teamwork and broadened our perspective in what our world and country needs. It was a fun and motivational event, being able to participate in creating ideas to help our nation,” the Eleartech team remarked. Their winning app is already being pilot tested by the Department of Agriculture- Region 3.


Team Boppy, whose members designed a Search and Rescue App” in times of disasters, landed the 2nd spot. “The experience was memorable given that half of the team were first timers. Focusing on the SDGs not only on political discussions but also on technology is a big leap for the United Nations.”


Team EEElectrify grabbed the 3rd spot and they developed the “Disaster Locator. “It was our first time joining a hackathon and we really commend the organizers for the event. The food was great, the venue was comfortable and spacious. It was a learning experience and we enjoyed it a lot. We became more eager and excited to join more hackathons and competitions. Most importantly, we were very grateful that we were able to share and present our ideas that can help achieve one of the SDGs.”


The special prize “Jury Prize Awardee” went to Team Tapp whose innovation was the “Easy to Learn, Easy to Earn” app. John Martinez, a member of the team, expressed his appreciation of the event. “MDM Hackathon 2017 was a blast! We learned so much from this experience, especially the lesson taught to us by AIM to not only aim for profit in solving problem but socio economic value is just as important, maybe even more.”


The hackathon was evaluated by esteemed judges – Diane Eustaquio (Executive Director of Idea Space), Peachy Pacquing (Former CEO of Ogilvy, Executive Director of Virlanie Foundation and Founder of The Just League), James Mendoza (CEO of Maroon Studios), Sreenivas Narayanan (Managing Director of ASSIST) and Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go (School Head of ZSDM – AIM). We are really thankful to the judges for their precious time and guidance.


James Mendoza applauded the success of the event. “There were a lot of great innovations from the participants, and a ton of potential despite the 24-hour limitation. It was also fulfilling to see participants coming from all ages and walks of life, coming together and competing against each other. Co-organizing such an event was a pleasure and an honor, something I hope has contributed to the school and the society in general.”

AIM Dean and President Jikyeong Kang congratulated the MDM class and Dr. Go for successfully pulling off the event as she has received a lot of positive feedback regarding the hackathon. The event sparked the interests of various organizations and paved way for more partnerships and collaborations.

Nur Ainee Lim, the project lead for the hackathon, emphasized that the event became a unifying endeavor for MDM 2017 of both purpose and passion. “As a class, we wanted to look for creative avenues to explore possible solutions to systemic development problems, combining theory with practice during our AIM journey.”


Kudos to the core project team for pulling off this successful event!

Words by Marikris de Guzman & Nur-Ainee Lim from Master in Development Management 2017

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