5 Lessons From My Future Libraries Product Forge Experience

I was a participant in the latest Product Forge hackathon, which was hosted at Codebase, Edinburgh (13th -16th October 2016). It was an event filled with talented designers, developers and entrepreneurs spending 3 days (72 hours) working on various projects aimed at providing innovative ideas or products that’d be beneficial to future libraries.

It received support from industry experts at the Scottish Libraries and Information Council and the Carnegie UK Trust and this proved greatly useful.

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Prior to the event, I was genuinely sceptical of what I’d gain from attending the event apart from the networking opportunity, after all, I thought libraries— except for those in universities— were on a decline, but I was wrong.

The fact is:

Public libraries are here to stay

My team and I interviewed various public library users in Edinburgh and they weren’t shy to show how useful public libraries are to them.

One of the reasons is libraries fulfill something that’s a basic human need, which is a desire to  connect with one another in a calm environment. I can’t remember how many times I went to the library a few years ago to have an opportunity to talk with someone.

Public libraries today –in Scotland specifically—come with some cool items most of the public aren’t aware about, but would love to use. For example, some public libraries come with 3D printers, eBooks, free public discussion spaces, and many other features that make libraries an essential part of the community we live.

Your team goals matters

I had the opportunity to work with an amazing team and we were united through the goal of the event. We all wanted to impress the judges on the last day and one of my team members wanted it so bad that he didn’t sleep for more than 2 hours in 2 days because he was working on our project. Although we didn’t win, he was awarded with pro plus pack (caffeine) .

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Value yields value

I was amazed at the presentations made during the event and it made me to realise just how much can be accomplished when people come together with the mindset of creating value.

Werewolf game is fun

One of the most fun part of the event was playing the werewolf game with the organisers, mentors and other participants.

It was the first time I was being introduced to the game and I enjoyed playing it with the rest of the teams. Most importantly, I enjoyed surviving to the last stage of the game even though my group lost.

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Work can be compressed with time

My team was formed relatively late, but we ended up accomplishing just as much as every other team that started before us.

Conclusion:

I’m happy I got the chance to attend the event and it was a weekend well spent for me. I’m grateful to the administrators at Launch.ed, Product Forge, Scottish Libraries and Information Council and the Carnegie UK Trust for making the event successful.

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Hackathons like these present an opportunity to learn, network, as well as develop things that create value in the world.

I look forward to attending this years 3 Day start up as well as the next Project Forge Hackathon.

Giovanni

Giovanni Olakunori is a certified Inbound Marketing professional with over 4 years of experience as well as Mechanical Engineering and Management student at Edinburgh University. He's a fitness enthusiast and loves to practice meditation every evening. Follow him on Instagram, Facebook, Google+ , Twitter, and LinkedIn to follow his public posts.

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