Hacking The City | Design a Circular Future

A few days ago Hacking the City | Design a Circular Future, the second hackathon organized by Tondo – an international organization operating in the circular economy sector – got to an end.

The hackathon, organized with the contribution of Nodes – Nord Est Digitale e Sostenibile and the sponsorship of Fondazione Cariplo, featured university students, recent graduates and PhD students from all over Italy, who proposed concrete solutions for the design of a circular city of the future, giving space to creativity, innovation and passion and facing the current environmental, social and economic challenges.

“We were impressed by the commitment and dedication of the students, who brought an air of freshness with creative and innovative ideas. We are excited to delve deeper into the Wasteway project and actively collaborate with the team to provide them with the necessary foundation to turn their project into reality. Like A2A, we believe that to improve everyone’s quality of life, it is crucial to put ideas at the center and promote collaboration. The hackathon and our partnership with Tondo represent an important tool in this journey.” Comments Danilo Vismara, Territorial Marketing Manager at Amsa – A2A SpA.

The event, which was carried out in hybrid mode, with physical locations in Milan, Turin in collaboration with the University of Turin, and Vicenza in collaboration with the Fondazione Studi Universitari di Vicenza and Viacqua, was created with the aim of devising and supporting innovative and circular projects, involving the main Italian universities and some of the major companies operating in Italy on this field.

Four strategic sectors have been identified, within which the industrial partners have defined challenges. Specifically: A2A for the Waste area, Humana People to People Italia for the Consumer goods area, Lavazza for the Food area and Viacqua for the Water area.

At the end of the two days, the finalist teams presented their pitch in front of the jury composed of members of the relevant corporate who, through an evaluation form, expressed their preference considering eight evaluation areas: circularity, innovation, relevance, social and environmental impact, economic sustainability, completeness and clarity of the pitch deck, and team composition. For the A2A jury, territorial marketing manager Danilo Vismara spoke, along with project manager Marco Felice Caporale. For Humana People to People Italia, the projects were evaluated by Corporate Partnership & CSR Manager Alfio Fontana. The Lavazza jury was composed of Sustainable packaging specialist Manuela Malerba and Elena Calegari, Research and Innovation Manager. Finally, Research, Innovation and Sustainability Manager Paolo Ronco spoke for Viacqua’s challenge.

“Investing in innovation, among the goals of Viacqua’s business plan, also passes through these formulas, which are able to harness knowledge, skills and that freshness of thought, as well as creativity, that comes from the new generations of university students. – says Giuseppe Castaman, president of Viacqua. “The challenge proposed in this our first participation is highly topical. We will delve with pleasure not only into the contents of the winning project, but also into the other proposals submitted.”

The winning teams, one from each challenge, later presented their brilliant ideas in front of the hackathon audience.

For the A2A challenge, the Wasteway team was the winner: their project consists of an app that aims to simplify waste management through smart trash bins, thus promoting active citizen participation.

The 2 for TO team wins the Humana People to People Italia challenge with the project RecuperiaMOLE – una mole di vestiti sotto la Mole: a project linked to the city of Turin, which aims to involve local realities through workshops at different levels, in which clothing repair will be promoted.

For the Lavazza challenge, the Le Betoneghe Padovane team won, which imagined a point collection system through the reuse of capsules and waste generated by coffee consumption, implemented in Lavazza’s various points of sale and accessible through an app.

Finally, the Le ampolle team won Viacqua’s challenge with SMART DROP, an educational project for the citizens of Vicenza that would create greater awareness of water consumption by imagining a new design of the water bill and a marker that would highlight waste and also proposing a new pricing of water payment.

During the two days, in parallel with the youth work sessions, there were numerous talks by university professors, industry experts, and Tondo members, who recounted ongoing projects and research in the field of Circular Economy.

In fact, in addition to industrial partners, some of Italy’s leading universities were involved, such as the University of Turin, the University of Vicenza, the University of Bologna, the University of Insubria, the Politecnico di Milano School of Management, the University of Genoa, the University of Pavia, the University of Ferrara, the University of Florence, the University of Naples Federico II, the LIUC – Cattaneo University, the Sapienza University of Rome, the University of Gastronomic Sciences of Pollenzo, the IUAV University of Venice, the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, the OGEPO (Interdepartmental Observatory for Gender Studies and Equal Opportunities), the University of Padua, and the University of Messina.

In addition, the hackathon also saw a strong involvement of other actors who supported the young participants in refining their projects. Professors, Tondo associates, ASP (Alta Scuola Politecnica) Alumni Association members and doctoral students from the University of Turin, researchers and collaborators from the Iuav University of Venice were mentors to the youngsters during the two days.

The two-day hackathon was an enriching moment for everyone, from competitors to companies, underscoring the importance of sustainable and circular innovations, a strategic driver for redesigning the urban context from a greener and more inclusive perspective.

You can see the presentations of the professors held during the hackathon on Tondo’s YouTube channel at this link. They are all in Italian.

Francesco Castellano

Francesco Castellano holds a Master degree in Business Administration, and he has gathered almost twenty years of experience in research, finance, consulting, and business management. During this time, he was engaged in different types of projects as a consultant at Bain & Company, launched Uber operations in Turin, and worked in the FP&A department at General Electric.Lately, he founded To... Read more

Francesco Castellano holds a Master degree in Business Administration, and he has gathered almost twenty years of experience in research, finance, consulting, and business management. During this time, he was engaged in different types of projects as a consultant at Bain & Company, launched Uber operations in Turin, and worked in the FP&A department at General Electric.

Lately, he founded Tondo, a cluster of organizations focusing on spreading Circular Economy approaches and concepts, and supporting companies in the transition to a clean and circular future. Francesco is also the ideator and coordinator of the Re-think Circular Economy Forum, a format of events organized in many different locations in Italy showcasing the most relevant Circular Economy solutions.

Francesco has been a guest speaker at different universities and events, like Federico II University, Bocconi University, LIUC - Cattaneo University, Pavia University, Padua University, Catholic University, IPE Business School, 24ORE Business School, Campus Party, Torino Stratosferica, Visionary Days.

Francesco is passionate about Circular Economy, Cleantech Innovations, Venture Building and Entrepreneurship.