You’ve just signed up for a hackathon or a friend has given you a ticket. Now what?
First of all, don’t panic. I know that it can be nerve-racking, but let’s define some terms for you and talk about why most folks go and what’s going to happen at a general level.
What is a hackathon?
Everyone has their own specific definition of what a hackathon actually is, but this is my version: A hackathon is essentially a design sprint that can last a few hours to a few weeks. The goal is basically to innovate and create fun solutions to problems.
Planning a hackathon can be resource-intensive beyond regular event planning where you just have to order some catering and put up some décor. A hackathon is more of a niche event in terms of the setup and running of the event, so don’t miss the details! They are important.
Improving events can be a tricky task since there are so many variables that are outside of your control. For any event organizer out there, I hear your struggles and feel your pain. So for folks that are organizing hackathons, here are a few things from me to you that I have found can vastly improve your event.
Civic design is defined by Naked Civics as, “A practice that focuses on the common good outcomes of our communities by pulling upon all of the institutional tools in our communities, beyond our traditional sole focus on government alone.”
Civic design is basically a human-centered approach to serving each other and finding ways that we can better shape our community to be what we ultimately want it to be while servicing the needs of all. I personally think of it as a mechanism to empower all the voices in an area, as it’s rare to have everyone at the table talking about what they want to see happen.
During our Skype conversations, we often found ourselves coming back to this question. Most of these conversation circled back to the potential of local innovation. After all, it’s people who know what they, their families and their communities need. All we need is a way to uncover that knowledge and transform it.
Per Sarah’s experience as a civic hacker, local community efforts such as hackathons can do just that… and it is in these pockets of creativity that we believe lies the power to push progress towards positive outcomes.
So here are 5 ways that you can use local hacking sprints to change the world.
I had a moving conversation with another guest about what the future meant for the city and how we could better preserve the personality while also building a city where life could be lived again. Where the diverse culture could be elevated in line with the technology.
And there you had it. Munching on toast, I could feel the weight of loss settling in our conversation. So how should our cities evolve?
How does social change happen? | Social Innovation Blog Series
Sarah Sharif (r), Founder and CEO of Experimental Civics based in Austin, Texas and Charlotte van Oostrum (l), freelance consultant and researcher in content strategy, design and management and Community Developer for Offcourse.io based in Rotterdam Area, The Netherlands met each other at SXSW 2017 and started to churn over this question.
You’ve just got asked to be a judge at a hackathon. Now what?
First, congratulations! Second, here are three tips that have helped me gauge projects and their success in a hackathon environment.
I’ve had this discussion many times with different folks that are getting used to the concept of civic hacking. The first question is usually, “how are civic hackathons any different from rallies or public hearings?” Followed by, “is there any actual community impact from these sprint-like events?” So let’s break this down in this post.
Donating your work to a project — especially one for the social good — deserves recognition, or at least I like to think so.
I would love to take a second to talk about a few ways for you to get some well-deserved credit for your hackathon work, because you’ve earned it.
Open source is a term thrown around at civic hackathons and especially when we’re hacking for the social good.
I know for us non-technical folks, it can be overwhelming to understand what open source actually is since we don’t write code, but it’s important for us to understand the benefits.