Social Good Hackathon
One of our biggest missions at RED is to create impact, so we try to work on projects with clients and partners who care about people. We were recently part of the Social Good Hackathon held at Sandbox by the DMZ. It was an amazing weekend where creative minds came together to create solutions.
To highlight the experience at the Social Good Hackathon, we teamed up with Adrianna Marling, a freelance writer in Toronto. She studied business and has worked with a number of nonprofit organizations and charities throughout her career. She loves traveling, writing, photography and visual arts and tries to stay involved in as much as she can within the city. She was first introduced to RED by attending the “Filling the Gap” event that was focused on women and equality in the workplace. Since then, she’s been very interested in how institutions like RED and events like the Hackathon will direct and shape the future of nonprofit organizations. This is her account of what transpired during the inspiring Hackathon weekend.
Most Monday mornings feel like they come way too soon, especially after a long work-week. For most of us, by the time we realize it’s already Sunday evening, we’ve rushed to throw in a load of laundry, ran all our errands and maybe even made sure rent was paid, and just like that the weekend had passed us by in its entirety. But I mean, how much can you really accomplish in a single weekend anyways? Well, for some of us the answer may actually be quite a lot.
On Friday, March 31st, 2017, 50 hackers representing over 20 schools worked tirelessly with industry mentors from over 10 different organizations. The task? Work with a team of complete strangers to conceptualize, develop and present creative and practical solutions for three Toronto-based charities. And of course, in the name of the Social Good Hackathon, all of this must be done in under 48 hours.
Friday morning Eva’s Initiatives, HerVolution and Pledges for Change each presented participants with problems specific to their organization. These problems ranged from donor retention to volunteer engagement to getting more women in STEM-related careers. There were of course technical problems, website glitches and coding intricacies to be addressed as well. Participants had until 2:00pm on Saturday afternoon to identify the key problems and develop solutions that aligned with the overall aim and mission of their designated charity. These solutions were then presented to a panel comprised of professional representatives from each charity. We were thrilled to see that each of the groups presented an incredible solution demonstrating both their technical knowhow and creative ingenuity. While one group stood out overall, our charity partners were thrilled to walk away from the event with a series of very plausible solutions from each group as well as an entire network of eager young professionals ready and willing to solve their problems and inefficiencies.
Sponsored by CIBC, RED Academy worked in partnership with Capgemini and Sandbox by the DMZ to handcraft an opportunity for students and industry professionals to come together and do what they do best: hack. The wildly successful Social Good Hackathon was the byproduct of months of hard work, planning and organization and generated an incredible amount of interest from both local and national news sources. The event could not have been made possible without the generous support of CIBC, McEwan catering and an incredible group of enthusiastic volunteers. The Social Good hackers were extremely well fed by McEwan catering and were fueled well into the early morning hours by the likes of Tim Hortons and Redbull. Brad Fedosoff, VP of CIBC’s Enterprise Architecture, inspired and enlightened us with a discussion surrounding new technologies and the future direction of the industry. We were delighted to have ThinkingBox pay us a visit as well, providing hackers with a chance to show off their augmented reality alien-slaying skills, which of course is a necessary component of any successful hackathon.
For RED Academy there is much more to learning than just knowledge and skills. The real learning happens when we use our knowledge and skills to collaborate, create, enable progress and design futures. In a cultural landscape that often seems saturated with negative media and news stories, students from far and wide are collaborating to volunteer their skills, knowledge and passion to create positive and powerful social outcomes right here in Toronto. The Social Good Hackathon was about more than code, design and innovation. It was about making meaningful connections, giving back to the community and solving real-world problems that directly impact thousands of individuals within Toronto. So exactly how much can be accomplished in just one weekend? Well, according to the problems that were solved, the connections that were made, the skills that were developed, and the charities that were practically supported through the Social Good Hackathon, the answer is a whole darn lot.
Digital Marketing Instructor and Content Strategist
Haidee is a digital strategist who brings over seven years of marketing experience to RED Academy. She graduated with a BA from Simon Fraser University in Criminology and English, where she developed sharp analytical skills and linguistic finesse. Though Haidee has worked in all areas of digital marketing, her expertise is in content marketing, digital storytelling and branding. She is driven by creating innovative content that captivates and resonates with people. When she's not working, Haidee is sleeping. Haidee enjoys a good nap.