A Reef Support Hackathon with YES!Delft Students


Written by Maëlle Picout

YES!Delft Students, created in 2009, organizes events and builds an educational system which focuses on the development of students to entrepreneurs. They reach over 8000 students a year with events such as the Hackathon.

This year, ReefSupport had the honor to work alongside YES!Delft Students in the 2021 Hackathon and have a total of 13 teams of ambitious students work on their case. Reef Support challenged the students with the following points:

Reef Support invites individual divers, reef enthusiasts, marine conservationists and scientists as early adopters to use its software. What are some of the ways we can engage them as early adopters to send their data and continuous feedback in order to improve our product?

We are also engaging this same group (and the wider public) for a crowdfunding campaign, what are some marketing ideas and strategies that Reef Support can employ to accelerate this?

After our CEO Marcel Kempers presented the business case with the latter questions, the students had 3 hours to prepare a presentation with their solution to the case.

Reef Support was surprised by how motivated and serious students were when solving the questions. Their presentations were clear, nice to look at and presented realsolutions to the questions we introduced. However, although each team had very nice ideas, some presentations immediately caught our attention more than others.

The results:

The 3rd and 4th place were given to Team 10 (Dive Deep) and Team 11 (Team Coreal).

Team 10 (Members: Bert van Gestel, Jorrit Bakker, Michelle van Ardenne, Theys Andriesse) argued that the best way to activate new divers and dive schools to participate in Reef Support, would be to add a new course to the diving certification process. This could be achieved by cooperating with PADI’s Torchbearer campaign. They already have an existing infrastructure withmany active participating divers, who are eager to collect data for ocean projects like Reef Support. Eventually Reef support could create an additional course to be given to scuba divers at PADI schools. This course would teach divers to collect useful information for programs like Reef Support. Once this course is mature it could be proposed and standardized to all diving schools through the WRSTC (The World Recreational Scuba Training Council).

Team 11 (Members: Pranav, Vivian and Parshva) proposed a collaboration with tourism agencies. When booking sea diving experiences with these agencies,the tourists would be informed about the Reef Support cause and would be given the possibility to rent an underwater camera to savoir their diving experience.During their dive, tourists would be able to explore the corals and take pictures of these incredible creatures. The co-partnered tourism agencies would then proceed to  upload these images to Reef Support, who would then analyse the data for its database. This database would ultimately be shared and used by various marine conservationists and scientists. With this idea, Reef Support would gain periodic quantitative data from around the world and recognition from ocean foundations.

The second place was given to Team 3.

‘ Be a good person and don’t have beef with Earth, Support coral reefs and let organisms give birth’

Team 3 (Members: Sina Sen, Efe Sozen and Tarik Ziyar Uzel) explained that the best way to engage early adopters is through the use of a leaderboard for the amount of pictures sent to the application with a reward program either in the form of a badge, money or an invitation to an important conference. Another way for Reef Support to engage individual divers,reef enthusiasts, marine conservationists and scientists as early adopters to use its software, would be to create NFTs which would be sellable on marketplaces. The revenue of such NFTs would then be distributed to the respective users. Other ideas to increase engagement were discussed by Team 3, such as the opportunity for contributors to attend events for free as well as organizing photograph tours of coral reefs by volunteer divers.

And the winner is...

And, finally the first place was awarded to Team 5!

Team 5 really impressed us at Reef Support for its out of the box ideas. The team was creative and gave a nice presentation. Their main idea to increase engagement was to launch a crowdfunding campaign with a main perk: a phone case to assist underwater photography. This phone which would be of great use for divers and tourists would also be made out of recycled PET plastic, making it environmentally sustainable. Their second idea was to simultaneously launch an app that acts as a collection point for pictures, while rewarding the users by gamifying the process. The app’s main page content would be a map of the world with areas of interest such as coral reefs. Everyone would then be able to zoomin the areas where the pins appear. Those pins would correspond to entries of pics in the app. Ultimately, users uploading their pictures would gain points based on the rarity of the ocean life photographed and would be able to exchange their points with perks such as local discounts and merchandise.

Overall, this Hackathon experience was a blast not only for the students participating but also for Reef Support, as we really enjoyed seeing how dedicated the teams were in finding a solution to the challenges we gave them.

Reef Support thanks the organizing team of YES!Delft Students for this incredible event and looks forward to implementing the solutions provided by the winning teams in the near future!

Written by Maëlle Picout - 07/06/2021