Hackathon as a Method #hack4socialgood

Last week, a small but very deliberate cooperation about the science of hackathons started with a discussion between two of the BFH researchers and Opendata.ch / OpenGLAM.ch. This is one of the projects related to improving the way we run (and participate in!) hackathons that @gnz @rtwck and I described in a workshop at the last DINAcon:

Our basic aims are to investigate ways of helping to “bridge the gap”:

…particularly in regards to people on the margins of the tech-savvy scene that spawned the hackathon mania of today. We also hope that this effort will generate constructive insights and valuable discussion in the community. You can read our proposal summary here:

While we are thinking about ways to involve diverse people in the effort, and there will be some more official announcements and RFCs directed at the scientific community later, the easiest way I can offer readers of this forum to get involved is through the application which currently runs behind the scenes of most of our hackathons.

In addition to some of the more clearly defined features discussed here - thinking about features for DRIBDAT that could help us to visualize and aggregate information that is useful to hackathon participants and science alike would be a great starting point. If you have ideas about adding reference points, such as embedding feedback questionnaires from participants within the tool - or ways to make better use of the existing data, please feel free to post them here or as a GitHub issue.

Photo credit: MakeZurich 2018 by Christina Rieder CC BY-SA 4.0

One way that we have been doing this so far is through the API, which is used to visualize the simple dashboard (pictured above) for digital signage, or to power our chat bot. Another is through aggregating data from the community platform (chat).

The most practically beneficial data, in my opinion, has been the basic participant counts - for example as described in the chart here which sumarizes data from the OpenGLAM survey.

And here we are just talking about data points. What about practical interventions? Other digital or physical tools? Quality and fun-level boosting approaches? Tell us what literature or gadget inspires you to run (better) hackathons, I will be grateful for your input.

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Check out my blog post for a look behind the scenes of our latest hackathon where we launched this collaboration.

Last month a factsheet and invitation was published, to which several organizations (mostly NGOs, all with connections to social work, or Soziale Arbeit) responded. I’m looking forward to helping to organize event(s) and use the opportunity to go back to the roots (at least, for me personally) of hackathons as a form of civil engagement here.