Hacking for humanity—a pretty ballsy, bold idea. But we’re up to the challenge. In fact, we’re so up to the challenge that we’ve strung together a global Hacking 4 Humanity series. Do tell, you say? It’s a global hackathon, hitting 23 cities over X months. And it’s not about free pizza and chit chat—this is about collaborating across disciplines, skillsets and businesses to hack the hell out of social problems like hunger, poverty, violence, climate change, and more.
First up: Australia
Girls in Tech Melbourne kicked things off mid-February. They partnered with government agencies and key businesses to deliver a stellar event, including a $2,000 cash prizes and a line-up of impressive judges and mentors. The three-day event included one day of “pre-hack” and a two-day, robust agenda.
How it worked
To expedite problem solving, hackathon teams worked to solve critical problems related to a host of charities. Charities included: Missing Persons Advocacy Network, mAdapt (a refugee healthcare information network), Emerge Women’s and Children’s Support Network (a domestic violence service), Headspace (the National Youth Mental Health Foundation), Lungitude Foundation (lung transplant research), Korin Gamadji Institute (leadership development, education and training), Sacred Heart Mission (homeless assistance), and Little Dreamers Australia (a foundation to support young people under age 25 who have to care for chronically ill family members).
Teams were judged on five aspects: (1) attention to responding to the problem statement, (2) quality of the prototype or solution, (3) preparedness and readiness for the charity to be able to take over the work, (4) innovation and (5) commercial viability.
Leading the way for change
“We are very pleased with the turnout and the quality of the prototypes,” said Jessica Lee, managing director, Girls in Tech Melbourne. “What an honor to be able to set the tone of an event happening around the world!”
“This event is new to Girls in Tech this year,” said Adriana Gascoigne, founder and CEO of Girls in Tech. “With any new program, you never know how it’s going to be received. But it’s truly heartwarming to see so many people and businesses get involved and want to do some good in the world. It leaves me with a lot of optimism about our ability to drive change.”