The Great Global Challenge is a one-week virtual program offered by HEX that occurred during the inter-semester break. This experience allows students to build meaningful relationships with other students worldwide while collaborating with them to develop innovative solutions for a problem. This year’s problem was to tackle with “Protect Human Rights in a Post-Truth World.” The program consists of a mix of workshops, fireside chats, keynote presentations, mentoring sessions that run throughout the day. Some of these sessions occur twice, once in the morning and one at midnight, to allow everyone from various time zones to have an opportunity to participate. We were also split into teams consisting of four people from various countries at the start of the programme.
The first half of the program (Day 1 to 3) allowed participants to get a better understanding of the problem; there were panelists from various industries who offered their insights into the startup scene and other industry leaders (Dropbox, Lyft) who talked about topics ranging from blockchain to memes to virtual influencers. The second half of the program (Day 4 to 6) had a range of workshops, such as the User Interface Design workshop and the Prototyping workshop, to help design the solution. These workshops were beneficial as they helped to understand the basics behind designing an application and learned how to use Figma – a web-based graphics editor. There were also workshops that guided us on market research and the design process and taught us how to create products that meet the users’ needs and create a pitch for our ideas. Amidst all these, mentoring sessions provided invaluable career advice and mingling sessions which allowed us to develop meaningful connections with participants worldwide.
At the end of Day 5, the final prototype for our idea had to be submitted, and on Day 6, the jury at HEX announced the winners and awarded cash prizes for the top 3 teams. The solution that our team designed for the challenge was an AI tool integrated into a mobile application that allows users to differentiate between real and fake news. The experience of working with team members across different time zones was quite challenging, but we managed to overcome it by splitting the tasks evenly and having regular meetings to update each other on our progress. Working on this solution was extremely valuable as I learned the different steps that have to be taken to design a prototype for a business idea and worked with a range of software tools such as Figma that would be useful for my career in the future. This challenge also allowed me to gain an in-depth understanding of what a “post-truth” world is.
Overall, this challenge helped me develop technical skills and helped me grow as a person by hearing various perspectives on a present-day issue. I highly recommend this programme if you are looking to work on something exciting over the holidays while having an extremely supportive team of mentors and participants to guide you along the way. There is so much to learn and take away from a week-long programme and would be helpful to anyone regardless of the degree they are pursuing. Thank you, 360 International, for the opportunity!