Thursday, June 20, 2013


Last week the first hackathon in the skies took place. I was lucky to be selected by British Airways and its partners to participate in the so-called UnGrounded flight, the company’s inaugural Innovation Lab in the Sky - aboard a private British Airways flight from San Francisco to London. With this hackathon in the skies I joined more than 100 innovators from leading VC firms, Google X, IBM, Vodafone, Ebay and various startup companies to collaboratively address the global STEM skills gap with the goal of accelerating global innovation.

Participants were nominated by global technology leaders in both Silicon Valley and London, with primary input from the UnGrounded advisory board. The advisory board is made up of senior representation from RocketSpace, Silicon Valley Bank, Andreessen Horowitz, Stanford University and Innovation Endeavors.  

Here you can find some more highlights from the program:


Upon landing, the ideas and solutions created on the flight were presented to the United Nations ITU Secretary General at the DNA Summit, in association with the G8 Innovation Conference, in London, where -amongst others - David Cameron, Richard Branson and Eben Upton (Founder of Raspberry Pi) talked about their views on innovation & entrepreneurship.

You can find a selection of the winning ideas from our teams here:

An online community that leverages the power of pipeline programs to advise, advocate, and accelerate women into STEM university programs and STEM companies. The community taps women leaders in STEM companies, retirees, and former participants to advise and advocate. AdvisHer reduces attrition rates in STEM university programs, increases the funding of women startups as well as the number of women in STEM-related companies and VCs.

Backpacks carried by travelers act as mobile hotspots and are carried to more rural/remote areas by backpackers. Solar-powered backpack features internet access and is pre-loaded with videos, multimedia content, and game-powered educational tools to be shared with locals. Travelers act as STEM ambassadors and help people engage more easily with the technology and its content.

A web platform that connects business-ready STEM talent to potential employers via a global, standardized-quality assessment. Combines quantitative and qualitative approaches, including portfolio showcase and evaluation, in an effort to demonstrate and develop both hard and soft skills. The platform encourages global STEM talent to prepare and build a market-ready digital presence that exposes them to employers for more accurate vetting.

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