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Summer Academy - The Challenge

Thomas Smolders
Resident Writer

Up to and including Sunday, 13 graduates are staying in a villa in Ellezelles, just across the language border that separates Flanders from Wallonia. For four days three teams take on a unique challenge to help Bednet, a Belgian nonprofit organization, through a design sprint.

On the first day of the Summer Academy, the participants were given a deep dive into the challenges of the organization, thanks to Bart and Kristien van Bednet. ‘We think it is especially cool that others want to brainstorm about how well the organization is doing and whether we can still improve in terms of technology’, said Kristien.

Inspecting possibilities of bednet

Bednet, for those who have never heard of the organization, helps sick children to follow the courses they’re missing. This is possible thanks to live streams via a device which includes a laptop, movable webcam, and a headset. The service is offered free of charge to families and schools and is funded through grants and gifts.

Over the years, the organization has faced various challenges. How can you motivate a user to use the device? How can Bednet deal with innovative forms of teaching? In 2007 Bednet had 15 users, in 2015 already 300 and now more than 1000. How can they scale the platform with the same budget?

Outside diner in the nice weather

We want to tackle one of those questions together with Bednet in the coming days: the user experience when someone uses Bednet for the first time. To get some more insights into the challenge, we interviewed some users via a live stream on the Bednet device.

These conversations were not only very useful, but they also demonstrated what a beautiful and important Bednet organization is. A child told us how he can keep in touch with his friends via the device, while a parent announced that his sick son had passed his exams thanks to Bednet. All of them are wonderful examples of how technology can work in a connecting way.

In the room you heard the brains cracking - everyone was thinking about how we can help Bednet in the coming days. This is just the beginning!

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