British Airways fuels Silicon Valley to London hack at 30,000 ft

Forget video conferencing, big problems demand face-to-face time. On a plane. In the air.

British Airways has created a "hack at 30,000 feet" flight which will carry 100 Silicon Valley thinkers — tasked with tackling the global talent crunch — from San Francisco to London.

The airline on Thursday announced Ungrounded to bring together tech execs and creative types, and open up collaboration with Silicon Valley's start-up community.

The 100 Silicon Valleyites will have to manage the tricky business of being themselves during the inaugural 11-hour mid-air hackathon this summer. "On board, they'll do what they do best — innovate and collaborate to find an effective solution to this growing global challenge," BA says on its Ungrounded website.

Upon landing, they will be taken to the Decide Now Act (DNA) Summit at The House of Lords in London, attended by 'innovators', celebrities, CEOs, philanthropists, UN delegates and VCs.

The passengers will present to delegates from the UN their ideas for addressing the 'talent crunch'.

"Our understanding is that the talent crunch is a real issue for companies and organisations in major tech hubs around the world," said Amir Dossal, special representative of the secretary-general of the ITU.

"We need to give people the opportunity to discover and be discovered, to grow skills, provide experience and uncover new ideas globally." 

According to BA, "the participants will be tasked with designing a platform to inspire and connect this talent with civic and commercial opportunities, to accelerate innovation in communities around the world."

Among those who will get to pick the 100 flyers will be Todd Lutwak of Andreessen Horowitz; Leor Stern of Google; Celestine Johnson of Innovation Endeavors; Duncan Logan of RocketSpace; Gerald Brady of Silicon Valley Bank; Marguerite Gong Hancock of the Stanford Graduate School of Business; and Rhonda Abrams of The Planning Shop.