NB. This is Part 2 of a post on reflections about UP Singapore. The first part is here.
This year's Environment UP was great. It had the energy you would expect at an event by the good folks at Newton Circus, and a motley crew of students, geeks, educators, and even a professional design team who flew in from Melbourne specially for it. Talk about commitment!
Similarities and differences between 2012 and now:
- Obviously themed for environment-related ideas this time
- SAP was still a huge partner for the data sandbox
- Less pomp & circumstance on Friday night launch, and more focus on the teams
- Team sizes tended to be smaller (between 3-5 as compared to 5-7 last year)
Also, this time round, as opposed to several mentors last year, there was just 2 of us from Syinc. We didn't realise that, and when we did descend upon the teams on the Saturday afternoon, we had to cover ground quickly.
We found that:
- Many teams didn't use (or didn't have to use) the data sandbox, relative to last year anyway (seeing from the sheer number of taxi apps last year)
- Teams experienced more ups and downs in the process of developing their concepts (no single generalisable cause though)
- Teams seemed less personality-driven (it's possible there were less overtly dominant personalities this time)
The biggest difference though, was in the whole set-up and context of this particuarly UP. This one was backed by WWF Earth Hour, and seemed commissioned by them to produce apps specifically related to their "I will if you will" campaign. It's the idea of going social via peer challenge - I will jump off a hot air balloon if you will switch off your aircon, for example. Has to be documented with pics etc.
The winning team was .. *drumroll*... 5 Degrees! Feat. Soh Ju Hu, Loh Chuen Lum, and Lilin Phng. The (very rough) notes I jotted on their app was: I will if you will. Create challenge / select from list of challenges, invite, participants submit pic, challenger verifies ("Well Done" / "OK" / "Er..")
We're impressed by Newton Circus' ability to pull off events spawning innovation from a community of Sg-based folks, and ability to pull together large institutional partners that makes this whole thing real. More importantly, the (increasing) presence of such events is something that we see as not only fun, and makes for a more vibrant community, but is also something that provides more space for hacker/geek culture and social sector to intersect. Coz it's really at the crossings of different worlds that you begin to take in different mindsets and philosophies, and create something new and of value.
We're looking forward to the next one - Health UP!