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Open Data Marathon in Twente for smarter European regions

On Friday 14 September, a “creative marathon” – the ECIU Creathon – will kick off at DesignLab University of Twente. Secondary school and university students, as well as professionals from all over Europe will immerse themselves in all things open data for an entire weekend. The goal is to make regions smarter, stimulated by the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU), Novel-T and DesignLab.

Goal of this event is to develop solutions for the challenges that various ECIU partners bring to the table. Fred Voncken, the programme director of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (ECS), will kick the event off on Friday.

Spiritual father of the creathon concept and event is Wilbert Pontenagel, project leader at Novel-T. “A creathon focuses on the step-by-step development of concrete products or services that offer a solution to previously formulated challenges. What is so remarkable is that mixed teams, made up of participants with a variety of backgrounds, focus on topics that are relevant to their own city or region here and now. Our modern data-driven society is often the cause or catalyst of the situation at hand. The teams frequently manage to come up with surprising solutions.”

The Promise of Twente

The challenge that the municipalities of Enschede, Hengelo and Almelo and the Ministry of ECS have submitted has to do with improving young people’s chances in terms of education and employment. This has everything to do with the Promise of Twente (“Twentse Belofte”).

During the creathon, participants specifically examine positive (environmental) factors that can reduce the number of drop-outs. “I speak for the other municipalities in Twente as well when I say that young people are the future. Together, we have to make sure it will be a great one. We hope that the ECIU Creathon leads to results that allow us to keep the promise we made together to young people in the region of Twente,” says Eelco Eerenberg, alderman of Education in Enschede.

European challenges

Participants from other ECIU universities, including Stavanger (Norway), Linköping (Sweden), Aalborg (Denmark) and Hamburg (Germany), will also come to the campus in Enschede for the creathon. Their challenges concern e.g. social services for young families and mobility concepts that improve the liveability/recognisability of cities while simultaneously reducing the ecological footprint.

Speed dates

In addition to the creathon brainstorming sessions, a workshop for professionals will be held. It is based on the DesignLab’s Science2Design4Society method. Participants develop a toolbox for professionals that estimates the social acceptance of innovations. The two programmes run in parallel and are interconnected via speed dates between participants in the creathon and the workshop. In this manner, the ECIU Creathon combines the knowledge and experience of professionals with the energy and creativity of innovative entrepreneurial talents.

Public closing ceremony

During the public closing ceremony, all teams will get together one last time to present their ideas. The audience will vote for its favourite and has a say in who gets to take home a prize.

Nevertheless, the DesignLab’s organisation is quick to emphasise that winning is not the main goal. “Ultimately, we want to strengthen the ties between the ECIU universities and contribute together to a smarter society,” says Project Manager Maya van den Berg, University of Twente.

ECIU Creathon

14 – 17 September 2018
Event website

The closing ceremony, held on Sunday 16 September from 15:30 to 18:00, is open to all interested parties. More information about the programme can be found on the event website.