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20Creathon is managed by the University of Twente, and offers students the opportunity to combine the skills gained in their course with the expertise provided by representatives of academia, industry and government bodies. This creative exchange is created around the social implications of digital technology, encouraging students to become responsible innovators and embrace the principles of sustainability and social justice.

As well as an economic prize for the winning team, 20Creathon offers the opportunity for the most robust ideas to be integrated in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The combination of lectures, creative workshops and collaborative activities creates an experience that aims to maximize students’ ingenuity, and to introduce experts from industry and governance to fresh ideas to resolve current urban challenges.

20Creathon focuses on how the digitalization of society, innovation in IT services and the development of data collection and management solutions can help public authorities deliver sustainable growth. The organization highlights the social component of the creative process, encouraging students and other stakeholders to reflect on the impact that their creations can have not only on the municipality but on the society that they represent.

The project is structured around weekend challenges celebrated at the university premises. Prior to the event, members of 20Creathon propose a series of questions to representatives of ‘Challenge providers’ i.e. local or regional authorities and/or businesses. These initial ideas are discussed based on existing priorities for public bodies, and potential impact that might arise from the event. A variety of groups from different universities attend the weekend event. With the assistance of researchers, representatives of the municipality and the business community, the proposal of digital solutions is shaped on the basis of potential applicability and societal benefit.

The main objective is to explore the application of open data and digitalization to modern issues, and the potential to establish clear collaboration and enhance synergy between business, education and government.


The concept of 20Creathon is a reflection of the commitment of UTwente to the delivery of programmes that encourage entrepreneurial and creative skills within its community. It aims to redefine the role of students within the educational community, engaging in collaborative events designed around the application of digital solutions for existing societal challenges.

Some of these project impacts are:

  • Develop the entrepreneurial spirit of participants
  • Expose students and young professionals to the benefits of knowledge transfer, creating opportunities for future cooperation
  • High level of engagement by students, exposing them to high pressure environments and allowing them to create solutions that can be further developed
  • Students improve their group working and communication skills
  • Bridging the gap between technology and governance
  • Public servants understand the potential of digital solutions to achieve inclusive growth, improving performance and reach within their daily activities
  • Businesses and academics identify specific needs of the public sector, and enhance the potential applicability of their solutions by government agencies and policy-makers

The structure, consistency, and multi-stakeholder collaboration demonstrated through the 20Creathon program allows for its success and transferability.  

Main Partners

Novel -T
University of Twente
Overijssel Province
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