Nova School of Business & Economics (Nova SBE) has once again brought together students, companies, and experts to find solutions to real challenges facing the Semapa Group. The Semapa Hackathon, which took place at the Carcavelos campus on September 15, had 50 participants - 28 employees of the organization, 14 of whom participated in the "Future Proof Leadership" program, and 22 students from eight different backgrounds.


The program, organized by the Nova SBE Co.Innovation Lab, had the special participation of Otmar Hubscher, Secil's CEO, Afonso Lobato Faria, ETSA's CEO, and five judges: Isabel Viegas, Chief People Officer of Semapa, Ricardo Pires, Semapa's CEO, V├ştor Paranhos Pereira and Hugo Pinto, CFO and CSO of the same company, and Hugo Augusto, Semapa Next's CEO.

For over ten hours the participants were able to work alongside Semapa employees to answer two challenges set by the company. A practical experience that can make a difference in the curriculum of these students:

"I'm a big fan of hands-on projects that involve the academic and corporate worlds, and Co.Innovation Lab and Semapa gave us that opportunity! Sometimes you can learn more in a hackathon day than in weeks of classes, and we can see the impact of our actions readily! I am extremely grateful for this opportunity," Francesca Dessi, a Master's student in Impact & Entrepreneurship, explained to us. "The connections developed with Semapa will be an asset when I am looking for work and they are already showing results immediately."

Design Thinking was the methodology used to answer the challenges, and the competition was divided into five phases: exploration (research on the problem and interviews with users), definition (focus on one of the user issues found), ideation, demonstration, and final pitch, evaluated by the jury.

"This hackathon was a great opportunity to develop valuable skills, learn about design thinking techniques, gain experience in solving problems through disruptive approaches, network with brilliant top executives and get to know an industry that I have had very little contact with before. As such, it was an extremely enriching experience which I highly recommend to everyone who is curious about the world around them and passionate about solving its challenges," Gon├žalo Jos├ę Dion├şsio Da Silva Santos, MSc student in Management & Economics, told us.

The same opinion was shared by Louren├žo Fernandes, who is also attending the same master's program: "The interactive and practical way of thinking and executing through group work with significantly different backgrounds amongst its members in order to solve a real life business problem converged into several different and creative ways of tackling challenges that are common to all firms.You start the day getting to know your team during a breakfast meeting and a couple hours later you leave the building with a solution to a problem that you'd never guessed nor could've come up to."

Semapa Hackhaton resulted in several innovative ideas and the company decided to reward two winning teams, which saw their projects selected for implementation in the organization. For this, the students who participated in the creation of these solutions were invited to be part of the process, working alongside Semapa employees.

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