Campus Party, the week long technology festival coming to the UK for the first time ever, is now less than three weeks away (YAY! Have you got your pass yet?!) and we’ve managed to grab a chat with Hannah Catmur, designer and creator of Get Out! Explorers Club.
Get Out! Explorers all stemmed from Hannah’s final year project at university, where she was studying Design and Communication. The task was to find a problem and solve it, which is when Hannah decided to look at technology – mobile and website in particular. The problem she found?
“I noticed that teenagers and children aren’t outside enough. I wanted to know what it was that was drawing them inside. There were no incentives, like leaderboards, that were drawing them outside.” But Hannah didn’t stop the project when university was all done and dusted. Thanks to a friend who spotted the advert, she applied to O2 Think Big, an initiative designed to inspire young people (aged 13-25) to start their own projects to improve their own communities. They provide funding, training and support to help the project go all the way from just an idea to huge success.
“Think Big has been fantastic,” she says. “It’s given me access to lot of contacts and events and opened up experiences for me. Having O2 as a sponsor has given me publicity and it has definitely helped to put a big name to the product. It really gets you recognised.” She spoke about the amazing support she’s been given by the scheme, such as getting her offline testing event on O2 Priority, which ended up attracting a huge 2000 visitors.
She was even selected from 3500 Think Big projects to be interviewed for both heat and More! (RIP L ) magazines. Impressive right? This brilliant exposure has got her into the Think Bigger stage of the scheme, where projects are given up to £2500 to get their project up and running. She is currently in the building stage of her app and website, with a current prototype and completed designs and site maps, and is looking into how and when to launch them. “I’m looking to hire developers here. I already have some in Madrid but I’d like some closer to home so I can really work together with them. Madrid is too far!” she says. The project is already doing extremely well, having been recently selected for the Good Practice Collection on Social Innovation presented at “Social Innovation – Priority for a European Agenda.”
So what will Hannah be speaking about to the lovely young digital fanatics at Campus Party? She’ll be interviewed about her journey into her project and Think Big. She’ll also be busy promoting Think Big Schools, as she’s passionate about the importance of teaching children about technology.
“I have a 12 year old sister who gets no technology teaching at all. Jobs are all digital these days, but there are no opportunities out there.” Most importantly, she’s excited about watching young people develop ideas in workshops, something she enjoyed at the Make Things Do Stuff launch event at The Roundhouse back in May.
If you’re looking to make your mark in the digital world, Hannah advises you to “look what’s missing in the market- find your niche.” She also states the importance of looking at what’s currently doing well in the market, and seeing what they’re doing that makes them so good. “There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes of making an app or website.” Most importantly though, find what you enjoy and apply it to your vision.
It looks like Hannah’s project is going to go really far. She now has backing from MP Chris White, who has written a letter to Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on behalf of Get Out! Explorers to see if there is a way for the government to back the idea. Hannah will be speaking in the Make the Web Zone on the Women in Technology day of Campus Party (Thursday 5th September, Morning session). You can apply for a FREE pass through us right here, or get tickets for the whole event here.
If you’re interested in setting up your own project, take a look at our infographic on how Think Big works.