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hack4future: a reward called tomorrow



Lukas Helebrandt

Short summary:

Use the addictive power of technology to make people learning outdoors

hack4future: a reward called “tomorrow”

Green Steps is happy to announce the winners of hack4future: our two-day open hackathon, where we brainstormed and prototyped ideas on how to connect people with nature - through technology.

The Ark is a non-profit decentralized platform that Green Steps are developing to connect initiatives for sustainability and environmental education around the world. The aim is to build a global network of communities, enabling them with the tools necessary to cooperate, share knowledge, and reach an audience wider and wider.

The practical aim to be achieved during hack4future was gathering the best ideas from the best minds in order to explore the best direction to develop such a platform, and gathering a local community of individuals interested in the intersection of technology, nature and sustainability.

After a pitch of the idea and a Q&A session with representatives of local nature learning communities, the group of 14 young and brilliant participants got a more clear understanding of what the common problems of nature educators and community leaders are. With no further restriction given, the groups started developing their own ideas, helped by our skilled group of mentors.

How to harness the addictive power of technology to make people spend more time with their community and learning outdoors?

The wide subject set developers’ creativity free, and ideas came from all directions: from tools to teach science in nature to a dating app for nature lovers.

The teams went through ideation, pitched their project, and then took all different approaches to create their weekend deliverable: some went straight into building a mobile app, others focused on the business model, financing possibilities, visual and user experience.

Among the different projects submitted, the mentors finally decided to award NatMap as the final winner, and of course to the developing team members: Sunying, Wenlin, Cveta, Dave, Ralf, and Michael.

NatMap project is the concept of an app suggesting users the possible outdoors activities in the neighborhoods, both independently and organized by guides.
The winning points of this project have been:
 - The structured and clear idea of the user experience
 - Clear assessment of problem-solution positioning on the market
 - Solid results in UI/UX design notwithstanding narrowed time and lack of experience in the team
 - Potential integration in the current development of the Ark

Winners deserved a mention of honor, but as the main organizer of the event, Green Steps decided that all ideas developed and presented during hack4future deserved an award. That’s why all participants have been rewarded with the winning prize, an all-inclusive weekend at the shores of Lake Dianshan.


The teams managed to get a remarkable amount of work even if challenged to do that in a strictly limited amount of time. What’s more, participants developed very fast a strong connection with Green Steps' mission and vision. Even in a closed indoor environment, we managed to channel a positive energy and develop a community vibe!

One month later that community is kept alive thanks to meetups involving participants, organizers and mentors. Some of them have become an active part of the Green Steps project, too, but above all we are nurturing a purpose-driven community of tech developers. So proud!

Special thanks to all the partners that helped Green Steps to make hack4future possible. Agora Space for hosting the event, Coderbunker for co-organizing it, WeHustle, LeWagon, FreeCodeCamp, hack4Wuhan, 示说网 for promoting it, and Goma, Zrou, Mediterranean Bakery and Highlight Mate for sponsoring the food provided during the two days.

follow green steps to keep track of the developments of the Ark!