The HEX Great Global Challenge was a week-long virtual program that involved creating a business model which would address “human rights in a post-truth world”. We had seminars and workshops throughout the week and checkpoints to ensure we were on track to completing our business project plans. The program gave us the opportunity and resources to network with peers and experts in selected fields.
We had workshops on a range of entrepreneurial skills, including business model planning, market research, UX interface design, prototyping, pitching and public speaking. We also had a range of motivational seminars from experts on their business, advice and journey so far. The program gave me the chance to collaborate with peers worldwide and develop my entrepreneurship/ innovations skills. I enjoyed the social and community awareness aspect of the program and seeing what issues young people around the world thought were important and ignored.
The most challenging part of the program was the time zones. It was a continuous schedule, so some activities happened while you were sleeping and the northern hemisphere students were awake. Trying to organise a time to meet, which aligned well in all 3-4 time zones, was difficult at times but helped enhance my communication and organisational skills. I learned and tried many new practical skills, which I would not have been exposed to in my degree, especially in marketing and UX interface design. We were taught not only how to use a range of new technology but were also coached on our presenting and persuasion skills. Both of which will be extremely helpful in any future career.
The most important thing I took away from this program was to ensure I extend my options and continue learning new skills that aren’t necessarily connected to my degree. I hadn’t realised how much I would enjoy UX interface design and prototyping, so I’m glad I had the opportunity to experience it and will be more open to developing that skill in the future. This was an exciting experience that allowed me to push myself outside my comfort zone. It’s a great way to make friends or network with people from overseas. Everyone had very different backgrounds, not just business or design. I enjoyed talking to people about their degrees and how that overlapped with their passion for entrepreneurship. The staff were extremely supportive and friendly. They took time to learn our names and passions and made sure to check up on us consistently.
The program gave us access to mentors, who offered assistance with career and LinkedIn questions as well as the project. The speakers also took time to answer questions not relating to the course. The access to experienced industry professional and the opportunity to network meant this course would be brilliant for someone interested in becoming an entrepreneur. As someone who wasn’t interested in entrepreneurship initially, this was a great way to learn about entrepreneurship and see if it’s something I might go into in the future. Even if I don’t become an entrepreneur, I learned a lot of new transferable skills around industry technology, managing a team in different time zones, and starting a business. All of which can be applicable and helpful in a future career. This program made me aware of new opportunities and gave me the confidence to try new experiences that are out of my comfort zone or current skill set/knowledge
Hex Great Global Challenge was an amazing virtual experience that provided me with great learning all through online means. The programme was a week-long event where we were placed in groups of approximately five people. Since this was an online, global event these groups included people from all over the world, speaking different languages and having different cultures.
We were given an issue: ‘Protecting Human Rights in a Post-truth World’, and we had to create a product to help combat it. We had online workshops all throughout the day, from 1am to 11am, and we had to organise between our group members who would attend which workshops (as only at least one group member had to attend each workshop and we needed to maintain sleep!). Some of my favourite workshops included Q&A discussions with very successful professionals on topics such as fake news, and hands-on workshops where we learnt how to digitally prototype a working app!
The first challenge my group and I faced was communicating over time zones. Since we had a team of people from New Zealand, Australia, and the UK we had to navigate everyone’s different sleep times and almost ‘pass the baton’ to different group members to continue the work while others slept. Overcoming this challenge opened my eyes to the capabilities of technology to allow us to collaborate with people from everywhere, no matter the time difference. Another challenge I faced was staying focused whilst being online all day. Although the content was engaging, sitting and watching a screen provided a challenge for me as it was less interactive than an in person workshop. To combat this I consistently took breaks to go for walks, cook food and talk to friends and family in person.
One of the things I took away from this programme is that I am now significantly more inspired about the possibilities of international collaboration in work. Seeing so many different people work together on a fascinating challenge opened up my eyes to what the future could be; amazing new innovations through international collaboration to create positive change in the world. I am excited for my generation and what our future holds, as networking with the HEX students was inspirational. These students are all passionate about changing the world for the better, and are more than willing to work together to achieve it!
One piece of advice I would give to students considering virtual programmes is to go for it! Virtual programmes are so convenient, you can stay at home and study at the same time! The digital world opens up so many opportunities to learn and somewhat travel while staying where you are. If you have the time, and are interested in the virtual programme’s topic, I would say give it a go!
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!