While Bengaluru is globally known for its conducive startup environment, it is also famous for its traffic jams. Flipkart wants to get techies, concerned citizens, and organisations together to try to solve this pain point.
During the ‘Month of Innovation’, a part of its 10th-anniversary celebrations, Flipkart on Wednesday announced launching 'Gridlock Hackathon', an innovation platform to crowdsource innovative, implementable solutions from the tech community and concerned citizens that could help ease Bengaluru’s perennial traffic problem.
YourStory spoke to Utkarsh B, Principal Architect at Flipkart, to know more about the initiative. Here is an overview:
Utkarsh noted that since Flipkart's inception in 2007, Bengaluru and its startup ecosystem have given the company a lot of support to grow and reach the stage it has today. So, Flipkart now aims to give back in some way to the city we all love. Utkarsh noted,
Being a young, tech-focused, innovative company, we believe Flipkart has the scale to reach the right problem solvers through the Gridlock Hackathon event. The idea is to bring the community together on a problem, find crowdsourced solutions, pick the best ideas, and give them back to society to implement through the relevant organisations.
The contest will run from June 7 until June 21 and is open for technology-centric solutions as well as those that partially leverage technology through out-of-the-box thinking. Participation is free and open to all (including Flipsters). Utkarsh said,
As an innovative tech company born in Bengaluru, which firmly believes that all innovation should benefit society at large, Flipkart is bringing the community together to solve the traffic problem plaguing the city.
Participants can submit entries that address macro problems like overall Bengaluru traffic or submit suggestions to solve micro problems like traffic snares in specific areas like Silk Board and KR Puram. Flipkart notes that all the submitted entries must be implementable and feasible.
Flipkart notes that all entries will be judged on the following parameters:
Impact: How big is the problem being addressed and how relevant is the solution?
Feasibility: Is the solution implementable in the face of real-world challenges?
Scalability and sustainability: Is the solution long-lasting and will it scale for the real world, possibly through relevant application of technology?
Completeness: Flipkart is looking for a working prototype, a demo-able proof of concept.
The hackathon will initially run online. The teams or individuals with the best entries—shortlisted on the basis of the above-mentioned criteria—will get a chance to present their solutions to a jury that will pick the best three ideas. Utkarsh noted that while the jury members haven't been finalised yet, some Flipkart representatives will be part of it.
Winners will also be invited to work with the Namma Bengaluru Foundation on long-term solutions to Bengaluru’s traffic gridlock problem. Flipkart is offering Rs 2,00,000, Rs 1,00,000, and Rs 50,000 in Flipkart gift vouchers to the top three winners.
Flipkart is also looking internally for long-term solutions to solve the traffic problems that likely plague its own logistics teams. Flipkart currently offers 'Same-day' and 'In-a-day' options under its faster delivery service. These services have higher chances of being impacted by traffic snarls in the different cities the services are currently available in. Utkarsh clarified that the Gridlock Hackathon is to tackle the pain point for the city as a whole in a more systemic manner. He said,
We believe in the power of collective will. We don’t claim to have all the solutions for Bengaluru’s traffic problem but surely by bringing the tech community and citizens together on this initiative, we can achieve much more than what we could alone. This is, after all, our city and anyone who can do something about the traffic should do it.