4 online sessions, 3 teams, 1 goal - to help the Bulgarian NGO “Operation: Teddy Bear” grow their initiative “The Hidden Talents of Bulgaria.”
That’s how the first-ever Big Bloom Hackathon for Good in Eastern Europe went.
And we were fortunate enough to participate in it and offer our expertise to help discover the right solution.
To find out more about the event, read on.
Big Bloom is a global initiative that organizes hackathons for the benefit of non-profit. Its two-pronged mission is to accelerate social innovation while supporting the growth of socially-minded leaders. It was launched in France end of 2018. Since then, over 100 Big Bloom events have been organized in different parts of Europe, Canada, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
And for the first time ever, Big Bloom held their hackathon in Eastern Europe, helping the Bulgarian NGO - “Operation: Teddy Bear.”
Association “Operation: Teddy Bear” organizes the largest Christmas campaign in Bulgaria for making unprivileged children and youth’s dreams come true. Once a civic volunteer initiative, giving presents to 40 children from a single foster home, today “Operation: Teddy Bear” is the NGO that brings back Christmas to nearly 10,000 children deprived of parental care, children with disabilities, and children at risk every year.
They believe that it is our duty to be involved in the lives of those children and help them create a better future for themselves. That is why, in 2017, they started the Mentoring Program “The Hidden Talents of Bulgaria” – an educational project that gives a chance for studying in university and professional realization to talented children, deprived of parental care and children at risk.
The idea behind Big Bloom’s hackathons is to gather a set of different professionals who have unique skills, knowledge, and experience and together to find a solution to a given problem.
The challenge that was presented to all participants in the hackathon was:
How might “Operation: Teddy Bear” monetize the diverse talents of their kids (e.g., music, dance, art, sports, programming) to allow them to grow their team and to double the number of kids in their programme?
In other words, “Operation: Teddy Bear” were looking for ways to expand their mentorship programme from 12 to 24 children.
And that’s where the participants came in.
All professionals that took part in the hackathon were separated into three teams.
We had to brainstorm ideas during four online sessions and then present them to “Operation: Teddy Bear,” and they had to choose the one that they believed suited their needs best.
To guide the teams along the Design Thinking method that was used to generate solutions, each group was supported by a professional coach and a designer.
Using the Design Thinking method, every team had to go through four phases on their journey to discovering the best solution:
The end result:
A well-thought solution, practical next steps, and a way for “Operation: Teddy Bear” to grow their programme and provide more children with the life they deserve.
In addition, the association got tens of hundreds of other ideas that were generated in the second phase of the process that could be implemented at a later stage of their development.
In other words, it was a job well done and time well-spent.
When you build a business around people you can trust, you know that whoever gets the chance to represent the company in public events will do it in the best way possible.
In this case, the NitroPackers who took part in the hackathon were Nedi, our Talent Acquisition expert, or in other words - the person responsible for building NitroPack’s great team; and Niki - our graphic designer who ensures that NitroPack looks visually appealing on your screens.
They were good enough to answer a few questions and share their impressions about the event.
Here is what they said:
How would you describe Big Bloom’s hackathon?
“For me, it was an extraordinary experience because it made me step out of my comfort zone and provided lots of opportunities to learn and help.” - Nedi.
“It was an amazing experience! It was intense, but we did it! We felt incredibly touched by Operation: Teddy Bear’s cause “The Hidden Talents of Bulgaria” and we wholeheartedly participated.” - Niki.
What was the biggest challenge for you and your team during the event?
“Big Bloom's concept is unique because it is challenging and rewarding at the same time. Despite the difficulties we faced in the team due to our different opinions, in the end, we were able to provide the NGO (Operation Teddy Bear) with several unique solutions about how to help even more talented children who live in institutions. We even met one of those kids during the "empathy" stage of the program, and her story was so inspiring! It is great to know that you have contributed to such an amazing cause.” - Nedi.
“The biggest challenge for the team and me (as we shared opinions) was the intensity of the event and how emotional it was to meet Moni, one of the Hidden Talents of Bulgaria, and learn her story.” - Niki.
Why do you think it is important for companies to participate in such initiatives?
“I think every company should take part in such social engagements/initiatives and give back to the community they live in. Even if it's a small gesture, it may inspire and create the "snowball effect" of giving.” - Nedi.
“It’s a unique opportunity for companies and their team members to practice social responsibility. Helping NGOs and their cause with collective effort and expertise is rewarding. It feels good to do good.” - Niki.
All of us at NitroPack are extremely happy that we got the opportunity to take part in such an impactful event, and we couldn’t be more proud of our two participants.
If you want to help “Operation: Teddy Bear” as well, you can donate here.
Niko is one of the NitroPack storytellers. He is passionate about writing quality content and turning complex optimization concepts into engaging articles.