Open Geneva a "safe spot" in the heart of the turmoil covid-19

Following the first covid-19 tsunami from March to June 2020, Geneva, Switzerland, and the world were able to experiment with the phygital interface between the physical and online space. For Open Geneva, the stakes were high, as hackathons are generally open innovation events that aim to encourage social interactions to maximise collective intelligence and creativity.

Over the past year, our goal has been to dispel the notion that hackathons cannot be organised online or that if you organise hackathons online, the experience will not be as good as in the physical space. In fact, after several hackathons organised online, we have found that the experience is certainly different, but not necessarily of a lower quality. On the contrary, and particularly during periods of containment, we have found that when the environment is right, not only do people engage, mobilise collective intelligence and co-create effectively online, but some also use the environment as a safe spot. Online hackathons have also taught us that you can now engage people globally, regardless of their background and the level of development of the countries they live in. 

As described in the Annual Report, the possibility of organising online hackathons has allowed us to expand our mission to a Very Large Geneva, which includes e.g. Singapore and China. This opportunity is very positive for the promotion of open innovation but generates exciting challenges to be solved in terms of local vs global inclusion. Concretely in this context in Geneva, we face a challenge of linguistic inclusion between French and English speakers. Ensuring that innovators can communicate without barriers is obviously a key issue in open innovation. 

Finally, hackathons are often seen as moments of innovation with the aim of generating startups or intrapreneurship. However, we consider that hackathons are also unique moments of learning through collective intelligence, during which participants contribute and receive, in a form of mutual help. In collaboration with the University of Geneva, we have launched a global study to better understand the motivations of hackathon participants.

Sustainable Finance Hackathon: Bold innovations in Sustainable Finance need Collective Intelligence

According to the Financial Centers for Sustainability (FC4S) network, representing 30 financial centers encompassing USD 61.3 trillion equity market capitalization, up-skilling in financial centers is one of the greatest challenges to bolster sustainable finance.

Besides, sustainable finance faces tremendous innovation challenges, many of which require a change of perspective on the purpose of finance, on how financial institutions shall adapt, and most importantly, on building reliable indicators to design thorough finance instruments, which positive impact shall thoroughly be verified.

As the success of Building Bridges has demonstrated, the private, public and international institutions in Geneva have a unique collective advantage to promote sustainable development through finance in Geneva, in Switzerland, and globally.

The Sustainable Finance Hackathon (#SFH2021) has been built since 2019 by Open Geneva and the Geneva School of Economics and Management, and with the support of the Canton of Geneva. The objective is to promote the collective development of bold innovations, which in turn may continue their journey as entrepreneurship (e.g., impact startups, not-for-profit organizations), intrapreneurship, or scientific research projects based on concrete needs.

The word hackathon is a contraction of "hack" and "marathon", is a 24-hour sprint to find practical solutions to outstanding problems through the mobilization of collective intelligence of people with diverse expertise and cultural backgrounds. The #SFH2021 hackathon is a special moment, which gathers people interested in advancing sustainable finance, in a highly motivating and playful environment with no-judgement. 

The organization of the #SFH2021 hackathon is highly conducive to unleashed creativity and quick, yet intense and self-learning. It also fosters building long-lasting friendly horizontal collaborations across organizations by doing-together and by removing usual hierarchical, institutional and intergenerational barriers. 

Through the active participation of people and organizations in Geneva and globally, the #SFH2021 hackathon contributes to the emergence of novel innovations and collaborations, including with a generation of students in finance, management, environmental and computer sciences, who are eagerly willing to make the world a better place. 

The Sustainable Finance Hackathon #SFH2021 will be held on November 26th and 27th at Campus Biotech, with its closing ceremony on Tuesday, 30th November 7pm at Forum Genève.