Social Storm 2016: Reshaping the way entrepreneurs learn 

On November 11, the third Social Storm virtual social enterprise Hackathon will kick off, involving over 20 universities around the world and hundreds of students. Packed into 24 hours, teams composed of students from at least three locations will focus on coming up with solutions to a key UN Development goal. This year the focus will be on Food Security and Sustainable Housing.

This is work, honest! Members of the Excalibur Social Storm 2015! Team on their working to victory.

This is work, honest! Members of the Social Storm 2015 Excalibur Team on their working to victory.

While having features common to many hackathons (pizzas, Red bull, sleeping bags etc), Social Storm is very different from most. This is because Social Storm places entrepreneurial learning right at the very heart of its design. So while meeting the challenge to produce a credible business plan in just 24 hours, pitched to an expert panel of judges, Social Storm has embedded within it an innovative four phase learning design.

Social Storm Timeline .001This approach ensures that Social Storm not only results in useful contributions to the UN Development Goals, but also the students involved will have a higher capability and motivation to get involved in start up ventures in future.

This is achieved in a number of ways:

  • Mentors are trained in advance, enabling them to support the virtual student teams through an intense 24 hour period with tight delivery schedules
  • Before, during and after Social Storm, students are required to complete Dynamiqe psychometric tool, building their self awareness and enabling them to identify and work on their key developmental areas.
Dynamiqe, based on 5 years of research, helps entrepreneurs understand how they move through different phases of the start up journey

Dynamiqe, based on 5 years of research, helps entrepreneurs understand how they move through different phases of the start up journey

  • There is a 20% weighting in the judging criteria on what is known as the Founder Statement. This is a 250-500 word summary of the teams journey through Social Storm, reflecting on the challenges, key decisions, turning points and how they leveraged each others strengths.
  • There are regular checkins between the teams and mentors, providing an underlying four phase structure to work through.
  • Participants will have access to relevant online resources to support their learning. 
  • In Social Storm 2016, there is an increased focus on gamification, where teams can earn points along the way for activities such as effective pitching, timelines, quality of updates, and so on.
  • Continual feedback from the mentors and judging panel has been built into the Social Storm programme
  • Participants, educators and mentors are encouraged to follow up locally after Social Storm to reflect on key learning areas and reinforce involvement in social enterprises.

Social Storm builds on two successful years and seeks to make yet more improvements to this years event. For example, there is now more focus on a specific UN Development goal, rather than spreading the teams resources too thinly. Also, the mentoring is being integrated more tightly to the team process than before.

The academic Professor Norris Krueger has written about the need to transition from a teacher centred to a more learning centric form of entrepreneurial education. Too often, students are exposed to either a didactic lecture on the one hand, or are given free reign to explore their intuition on the other. Social Storm has certainly been influenced by the need to navigate between these extremes. It is not always easy to learn while doing. Too often real learning is left buried underneath memories of intense and frenetic activity. The learning structure underpinning Social Storm has been designed to make the participants learning self evident before, during and after the event itself.

To read more about previous Social Storm events, please click here

Social Storm 2014

Social Storm 2014

For more information on Social Storm click here

Pivomo is delighted to be once again supporting Social Storm. As well as providing all participants with Dynamiqe accounts, we are offering mentors access to the first three modules of our Dynamiqe Mentoring Accreditation Programme (DMAP). This provides the option to the participating Universities of upgrading to full accreditation with minimal cost. Email us at to find out more.

Andrew Atter

Founder & CEO, Pivomo