ECIU Creathon’24: students create the digital city of tomorrow

Important | 2024-06-05

On May 13–15, undergraduate Yuliia Shulikova and PhD student Judita Švaikauskaitė represented Kaunas University of Technology at the ECIU University event ECIU Creathon’24 (Linköping, Sweden). This dynamic innovation challenge brought together students, academics and professionals from different fields and countries to create a future digital city and improve the lives of the citizens of Linköping and Enschede (The Netherlands).

Over three days, participants engaged in intensive teamwork and skills-building workshops, culminating in pitch-style presentations and ideas with a clear vision for the future.

ECIU Creathon’24 – digital innovations of the future

ECIU Creathon’24 aims to innovate and develop digital solutions that could transform public urban services. The challenge aims to meet the urgent need for smarter, more accessible services for all ages, promoting a more inclusive and efficient urban environment.

The event challenged participants to rethink and redesign various aspects of urban life through digital innovation. The event encourages teams to think out of the box and use technology to create solutions that can be implemented in real urban environments.

Whether it was a more functional public transport system, improved waste management or more user-friendly public services, the aim was to create practical solutions that could significantly improve the quality of life in the city.

By focusing on finding out-of-the-box solutions, ECIU Creathon’24 not only encourages the development of innovative ideas but also highlights the potential of combining creativity and technical skills.

“It develops the ability to understand that challenges are often multi-layered and that we should look at problems and possible solutions from a slightly different – broader, holistic perspective,” says Švaikauskaitė.

ECIU challenge
Judita Švaikauskaitė, a KTU PhD student

Digital services are one of the key areas of rapid development in the public sector, offering many opportunities for improvement, but also posing significant challenges in terms of inclusion, accessibility, availability, security and quality of service. Cities need to stay at the forefront of this development, seizing the opportunities and meeting the challenges, to create an attractive and quality living environment for their citizens. The cities of Linköping and Enschede have had long and close cooperation and have now joined forces to meet the challenges of ECIU Creathon’24.

The diversity of the team is one of the main conditions for success

“In terms of challenges, ECIU Creathon’24 required intense concentration, quick idea generation and maximum engagement, while remaining interactive and playful,” says Judita.

ECIU Creathon'24
Teamwork – at the core of a successful solution

One of the key elements of ECIU Creathon’24 was the formation of interdisciplinary teams, bringing together students and professionals from different fields of study and expertise. This collaborative approach is designed to encourage participants to see different perspectives and solutions to challenges. By working in interdisciplinary teams, participants can use their unique skills and knowledge, resulting in more comprehensive and creative solutions.

Teams were carefully selected to ensure a mix of disciplines, including engineering, computer science, design, business and social sciences. This diversity within the team is very important as each team member represents a different perspective and skill set.

The interdisciplinary nature of the ECIU Creathon’24 teams also ensured that the solutions were not only technically sound but also socially relevant and economically viable. By integrating different perspectives, the teams had the opportunity to assess a wide range of aspects from user experience to sustainability and scalability.

“ECIU Creathon’24 was an incredible opportunity to collaborate with students from all over Europe. The teamwork and collaboration far exceeded my expectations. I gained invaluable problem-solving skills based on the knowledge I gained during the training on how to approach a challenge step-by-step,” says Yuliia Shulikova.

Participating in a ECIU challenge – a rewarding experience

Students Yuliia and Judita agree that participating in the ECIU Creathon’24 was a rewarding experience and encourage students to get actively involved in ECIU University activities.

“One of the most rewarding aspects of ECIU Creathon’24 was the opportunity to interact and share knowledge with students and professionals from different universities. Working in an interdisciplinary team, I learnt how to find consensus within the team, communicate my ideas effectively and achieve significant results. I suggest everyone try it – not only will you be pushed out of your comfort zone, but you will also discover a new perspective on the world,” says Shulikova, a KTU student from Ukraine.

For Švaikauskaitė, it was an exciting three days, both professionally and personally.

Yuliia Shulikova, a KTU student of Communication Studies and Information Management Technologies
Yuliia Shulikova, a KTU student of Communication Studies and Information Management Technologies

“The people we met, the experiences we gained and the lessons we learned will not only last for a long time but will undoubtedly contribute to our further development. Finding solutions to real-world challenges once again demonstrates the importance of teamwork, because many hands make light work,” says Švaikauskaitė.

She encourages all students to get involved in ECIU University activities, as this is a very rewarding experience in many ways.