The weekend of August 10th, I was glad to have been a part of Devthon where I helped facilitate teams and helped with User Interface assistance as required. Devthon acts as a catalyst for the questioning, curious mind to explore real problems and collaborate with others to drive home solutions. Unlike other hack events I have attended that seemed to the sometimes serve the purpose of using a specific product, solving a specific problem, and in some cases act as a hiring platform – Devthon attempts to have a more open format with less pressure, more willingness to celebrate failure as an important means towards success, and a collaborative & sharing atmosphere.
This is an important facet we seem to forget and are unable to inculcate in primary education systems where the goal is always pushing towards tuitions, entrance exams, and competition. Spaces like Devthon enable approaching a problem more creatively by eliminating the looming deadline or requirement to prove oneself.
Proof of success came about from the projects that were initiated at Devthon. getRTI, recently covered in the news, creates a platform to make government more transparent, by facilitating a web-based interface to all “Right to Information” submissions. Their struggle includes working with OCR API’s to derive meaningful information from RTI information from the Government. The Traffic Jam team explored various frameworks to model patterns in traffic jams towards providing tools for city planners to improve the lives of pedestrians & motorists, their struggle was right/left bias in the available frameworks which they are attempting to hack for Indian requirements.The Chaakri team had a different problem to solve, the creation of an open-source job portal that anyone can use for an organization. There were many more exciting projects, including an open-source LMS platform built from the ground-up; an eco-friendly, minimalist table designed for hackers; a non-accident proof bicycle; and more. Folks with design skills were put to work across projects to help build accessible, user friendly front ends and memorable logos.
We also had the distinct pleasure of hearing a talk on design thinking by Karthi Subbaraman. She did a fabulous job of using a case study to demonstrate design thinking to elevate understanding beyond just jargon & buzzwords. Adi Narayana Vemuru was on hand throughout to provide guidance on lean startup methodology and inspired teams to think about their minimal viable product, and to focus on the essentials first.
I look forward to future Devthons & watch the hacker mindset grow & thrive in Hyderabad and India!