EthicAI=Labs 2022 kicked off with an ideathon in Sofia

ideathon © Goethe-Institut From 27 to 29 May in Sofia took place the first event of the EthicAI=Labs programme in 2022. It had the format of an ideathon, in which 15 young professionals from 5 countries, selected after an open call for participation, joined to form teams and propose their ideas for projects to be implemented during the EthicAI=Labs.

The programme of the event, hosted by the Goethe-Institut in Sofia, kicked off in the late Friday afternoon with an introductory session and an inspirational talks by the three mentors invited to the project: Mihaela Constantinescu (Romania), Marinos Koutsomichalis (Greece) and Fatih Sinan Esen d(Turkey). The program was facilitated by Yanina Taneva (Bulgaria), who guided the participants through the process of selecting a team and starting the teamwork, applying design thinking methods and a other instruments and apps to help the participants through the process.

 As a result, in the early Saturday afternoon, four teams were formed and started working on the prototype of the project ideas they had to present at the final of the event to a jury composed of the mentors. The teams had the freedom to choose the format in which they would present their idea for a project to be implemented in the next 4 months within EthicAI=Labs. Only fixed things were presentation time (5 minutes) and the criteria on which the ideas would be judged, including Concept, Relevance to the topic, Potential of the idea, Realisation plan, Impact, Teamwork, Feasibility, Prototype and Pitch.

The work of the teams was very focused and intense, closely supported by the mentors and the facilitator, and lasted until late on Saturday evening. The Sunday program started early in the morning to allow the teams to prepare their presentations. The project presentations began at 11am in a very moving ceremony led by the facilitator. The projects ideas included a chat bot app, a research project and 2 art projects. After a contested judging program, the jury decided that all teams should continue their participation in the project. The jury rated the performance of Team 4 the highest and awarded them an additional amount to the grant that all teams receive to implement their projects.

The EthicAI=Labs continues with team work on projects and running 3 labs/workshops in June, September and October in which the team present the progress of their work and receive advice and guidance from the mentors.

Galina Dimitrova-Dimova