Makeathon event inspired participants to create bold solutions to societal challenges


Reinvent the Future -themed interactive Makeathon event brought together students, researchers and local organisations to tackle societal challenges. The hybrid event, focused on innovative solutions, was organised simultaneously in several European cities and universities as well as a virtual event.

What do you get when you bring together approximately twenty enthusiastic participants and give them 24 hours to come up with solutions to big societal challenges? Well, plenty of bold ideas!

The Makeathon, organised on 6-7 May 2024, combined research, creative ideation and networking. Participants worked in teams to develop innovative solutions to challenges collected from local partners. The teams had access to a working space and materials to support their ideation and innovation processes. The teams also received support from experts who acted as mentors during the event.

The event culminated in a presentation of the solutions developed by the teams to the local jury. From the local teams, one team was selected in each city to compete against the other participating universities. Finally, an international audience was invited to vote for the best idea.

The Makeathon was part of the EC2U Alliance and its RI4C2 project. EC2U is an alliance of eight European universities that aims to create a pan-European campus with a new educational model. The event in Turku was organised by Laura Niemi, Development Specialist coordinating RI4C2 activities at the University of Turku, Development Specialist Outi Nurmela and Coordinator Maija Lespinasse.

Maija Lespinasse shared with the participants the most important information related to the implementation of the Makeathon before the teamwork kicked off.

The event in Turku delved into community, loneliness, educational opportunities and biodiversity

The local Makeathon event in Turku was organised at the University's Entrepreneurial Hub Konttori, where an enthusiastic crowd of participants gathered on Monday 6 May. The participants were divided into teams, each given a challenge from a local partner to solve.

The team formed by Jolly Trivedi, Maya Moussallieh, Abius Akwaake and Jeyaniroshan Jeyapalan were tasked to create a solution to a challenge received from the City of Turku to find ways to bring people of different ages and backgrounds together in a way that would increase solidarity and inclusion. The team was mentored by Riitta Nieminen from Lundén Architecture Company. Solutions to the same challenge were also brainstormed in a team organised online, with the participation of Ismail Vohra, a student at the University of Turku.

Solutions to reduce loneliness was a challenge given to a team formed by Aashu Bhattarai, Diana Carolina Jimènez Fajardo, Xiaoshan Huang and Emily Tirkkonen. The challenge was provided by the INVEST Research Flagship Centre, and the team was mentored by Lauri Koittola from Boost Turku ry and Aschwin van der Voude from Vincit.

Another challenge from INVEST Research Flagship Centre tasked participants to come up with a solution to ensure equal educational opportunities for young people finishing elementary school in different areas of Finland. Marko Nikmo, Sara Makkonen, Mariel Turkia and Annimari Seppälä took up on the challenge. The team was mentored by Lassi Yli-Muilu from the University of Turku.

The team formed by Sanna Halmekangas, Juan Pablo Meléndez Melo and Kaisa Vuorio tackled a challenge from the Department of Geography and Geology at the University of Turku, which called for ways to recognise and consider the diverse values of nature in urban planning. The team was mentored by Laura Niemi from the University of Turku.

During the event, the teams received support from experts who acted as their mentors.

The solutions emphasised the importance of community and collaboration

The teams of the Turku local event did an excellent job and on Tuesday, innovative and diverse ideas were presented to the local jury. The teams' ideas for shared spaces and environments, collaborative digital activity platforms, national learning networks and community-created green urban spaces offered an inspiring vision of a future where even big societal challenges can be solved through creativity and collaboration.

The jury found something to compliment in each team's solutions.

The Turku jury, consisting of Mikael Tómasson (City of Turku), Liisa Järvinen (University of Turku) and Jukka Käyhkö (University of Turku), after careful consideration, chose a solution that aims to increase urban biodiversity as their favourite. The solution emphasised the participation of citizens and collaboration between different stakeholders as a key element. The winning team will present their solution at the final event of the RI4C2 project at the University of Poitiers in France. 

The jury also praised the highly commendable work of the other teams and, on this basis, awarded the teams with certificates of recognition, not only for the solutions developed, but also for the work and presentation of the teams.

The local jury's favourite was the solution developed by Juan Pablo Meléndez Melo, Kaisa Vuorio and Sanna Halmekangas.

The team that won the local competition also did well in the international Winner of the Hearts public vote. Team members were thrilled with the success and complimented the inspiring and engaging nature of the event. Despite limited time for brainstorming and not knowing each other beforehand, the team felt that the collaboration went very well. 

A successful Makeathon was celebrated together.

Other Makeathon participants were also satisfied with the quality of the event and the organisation. In the end, the competition between the teams was only a small part of the event, which focused on collaboration and brainstorming, creating a fertile ground for innovation to address societal challenges.

Created 16.05.2024 | Updated 17.05.2024