unprecedented times, we are facing new challenges every day. The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the achievement
of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the efforts of social
enterprises that have been striving to meet the world’s most pressing needs.
To face the
evolving crisis, one tool available to social innovators is the hackathon – a
digital event that promotes collaboration by enabling us to quickly crowdsource
ideas and develop practical solutions.
hackathons – a combination of the words ‘hack’ and ‘marathon’ –, individuals
from all over the world can join forces and collaborate to find solutions, not
only to the current COVID-19 pandemic but also for social good and many of the challenges
faced by low-income communities.
for social good
gained popularity in recent years and the method is being increasingly used by
government agencies and organisations, such as UNESCO.
to harness collective intelligence by bringing together experts from various
fields, enabling them to create new solutions, new apps and new businesses. The
advantages of a hackathon include :
innovation by bringing new ideas and new viewpoints to the cause;
together an active community and increasing participation;
interest in the cause among the public;
work more effective and more efficient, as teams can repurpose or repackage
the problem. A hackathon leads to practical solutions with meaningful impact.
The Global Hack
the Crisis Community provides guidelines on how
to set up an online hackathon, but there are many other resources
available. The online platforms ChallengePost and Changemakers allow organisations to host
challenges and hackathons, while the renowned design firm IDEO partners with
organisations to host design challenges that encourage collaboration through OpenIDEO.
At times like
this, open innovation has proven to be a powerful tool. TRANSFORM also
harnesses the power of collaboration by inviting social thinkers and innovators
to share their market-based solutions for underserved communities in
sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Through regular Open Calls, we can combine these
impactful solutions and the resources and expertise of our vast network to
drive progress towards accomplishing the SDGs.