OECS Think Tank – An End Business as Usual?

OECS Business ThinkTank LogoWith a number of member states facing high youth unemployment and stubbornly low economic growth numbers, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, is partnering with regional stakeholders to host the first, OECS Business Solutions Think Tank and Hackathon, from 14th to 15th August 2015.

Tech Correspondent, Russell WIlliams spoke with Sybil Welsh – Adviser at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank to find out more about the event and why now. Ms. Welsh was keen to stress that the private sector and the public sector need to innovate and strive to be more efficient in their operations.

“Technology, provides an opportunity for businesses to reach and engage new and existing customers at a reduced cost and in more dynamic and novel ways, and whenever you can interact with your customers it offers you an opportunity to get their input as well as remind them that you’re there to serve them.”

We asked what was the motivation for a “Think Tank”? “Well, we didn’t want to just hold a regular Hackathon or Code Sprint, just to say we were holding an event. We believe that such an event should seek to solve some of the challenges faced by the business community.” Ms. Welsh stated that a survey was sent to businesses and the public sector, to identify needs and challenges which would then be put to the development teams to solve.

The additional benefit of this approach is that development teams are solving real problems affecting businesses now! We would expect this to simplify or address the question, of “how do we make money from our app?” and therefore ensure that they’re able to monetise their work, she stated.

We asked, who was expected to participate in the event? “We expect that students, Teachers, IT Professionals and creative thinkers or problem solvers would attend and contribute to finding solutions to the challenges identified. Just as we at the bank have sought to partner with businesses and regional institutions to implement the event, we are hoping that participants would come from a broad range of backgrounds.”

Ms Welsh, addressed the issue of regional participation “participants from across the monetary union, will meet at the Central Bank office in their respective country and participate via video conference. In St. Lucia however, we are partnering with their on-going ICT project, CARCIP, where  they will be holding a week long ICT Fair, taking place from the 10th August.

Anyone interested in participating as developer or mentor to a team, can register  online. To keep up to date with the event follow the FaceBook page, at https://www.facebook.com/thinktankhackathon.

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