Make A Huge Social Impact On An Entire City & Change Israeli Society

The BIG IDEA Gap Year Participants have come a long way since bidding a farewell to friends and family back in September 2017 and arriving to Beer Sheva (the world’s Cybertech capital). Fast forward just 5 months to the end of January (the end of the semester) and it is clear to see each participant has grown in leaps and bounds both personally and professionally.

In this article we will discuss the timeline the participants journeyed on, gaining valuable work experience in a Smart City lab (the Centre of Digital Innovation located in Beer Sheva) to develop digital solutions to influence real people’s lives. It was here that the participants really became part of the Israeli hi-tech ecosystem, putting their hands-on-experience to use to create their very own pioneering applications in just 17 days.

Creating an App for an entire city to use

1.  Get into teams

The group was split into 2 teams to brainstorm ideas for apps which would make a real social impact and change Israeli society in general. Once they decided on the concept it was time to choose which specific person would do take which role. In other words, who would create the app, who would do the research and who would code; as well as the all other key aspects involved in its making. They also gained access to such huge sources of data for an entire city. I mean do you know other 18-year-olds who gain such information? Team Awesome created Discover Beer Sheva to help English speakers live better in Beer Sheva, whilst Team Quality created Safe Sheva to make people feel safer walking the streets of Israel.  

*Here is a short nutshell about the apps created. (Follow us on the next post for more a more in-depth look at each App. )

Discover Beer Sheva-Over the past 4 weeks the group brainstormed and decided to come up with an idea to help navigate non-locals and none Hebrew speaks to discover what Beer’ Sheva has to offer (the new Silicon Valley of the Middle East).  It is extremely difficult for foreigners to find local restaurants, bars and other businesses, therefore,  people feel lost and like they don’t belong. Discover Beer Sheva is not just tourists but people who are new to living in Beer Sheva.  It includes even more categories than other Advisor apps, therefore, includes the entire population of the city and reaches out to even more people’s needs.

Safe Sheva- A Solution to a problem of feeling unsafe. In Israel, 30% of people feel they are unsafe walking at home at night. The solution is Safe Sheva which has 2 features. Maps and directions in Israel with Google Maps lighting up the safe areas to walk, the second is a safety button to alert your emergency contact should you press it.

2.  Create 3-basic screens

Work was done on the ‘About’ Section of the App, planning both the first and second wave of data and the registration and tutorial pages i.e. how the app works and gaining user-information.

3.  Data-Input & Sending

Every app needs a cool, interactive logo which users will recognize. For this, the participants put their creative touch to create a logo, and emergency contact information (for Safe Sheva).

4.  UI Finishing & Testing

All the participants tested the user interface behaved in an expected way and to prevent the apps from regressing through their lifecycle. They checked the translation screen and report screen for quality and ran significant tests.

5.   Finish Coding & BETA Users

In this part of the process, all the marketing was achieved. Coding was created for the tutorial pages as well as work done on the visual presentation.

6.   Testing & Final Touches

Working on the pitch which explained about the applications.

7.   Demo Day

The team pitched their applications in front of loved ones, the town of Beer Sheva and BIG IDEA Gap year staff who have all witnessed them come so far. They explained all they have achieved and how the apps work. Not to mention each participant gained a professional certificate in a mobile and web app development course.

So what’s next for the BIG IDEA Gap Year Participants?

Some will leave Israel, some will stay on and continue throughout the next stage of our program which will be based in Tel Aviv. Living in stunning apartments in central Tel Aviv and working in top high-tech firms. Noam will go to the army to serve in the technology unit as part of our fantastic Garin Lotem Program. Read more about this here  

All in all, everyone graduated with a tech toolbox full of life skills, explored, travelled, lived independently, got new insights on Israel and life. They became the next leaders of the high-tech world, boosted their high-tech careers and got their foot in the door.

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