Capital One Canada hosted its second-annual Gift the Code charity Hackathon in November, followed by Hack Day in early December. More than 165 participants were called upon to volunteer for 40 consecutive hours on a late fall weekend to help create solutions to solve digital challenges faced by six of Toronto’s charities.
One of the ways that this year's Gift the Code Hackathon was "bigger and better" was that it happened right inside Ryerson's Mattamy Athletic Centre.
Hackers walked into a welcoming atmosphere, encouraged to build to the best of their collective abilities as developers and designers.
Hackworks was there to lend their support as masters of hackathons. If you ever need to crowdsource for innovation, these are the geeks you're looking for!
I can't tell you how awesome it is that there is a need for a company like Hackworks.
Compared to last year, the bigger and better gym area was set up for hackers to hack, but also for participants to take breaks during the 40-hour keyboard-smash to keep their mind, body and spirit at their best.
I totally wanted to find a buddy to play that Connect 4 game with!
Throughout the afternoon, the tables were buzzing as groups got together to build viable, out-of-the-box working applications that would benefit not only the charities participating in this year's Gift the Code, but are available through GitHub.
Everyone is hard at work to help Gift the Code's six charities for 2017: CEE, Indspire, Kids Help Phone, The 519, Autism Ontario & Sistering.
So, I owe Capital One a lot, like a lot a lot.
A couple of times now they've humbled me, by inviting me to be a guest judge, and I can't thank them enough for these experiences.
There is this absolutely weird, exciting feeling about being asked to judge the accomplishments of others.
This year, at the 2017 Gift the Code Hackathon, I was tasked to judge the groups working through blood, sweat, and tears to develop viable applications The 519 could adopt to help improve their day-to-day tasks and showcase how stellar The 519 is to supporters.
There were four criteria that we, as judges, were asked to base our opinions on: Greater Good (can this application be repurposed easily by more than one charity), Design and User Experience (UX), Ingenuity and Innovation (did the group design something new, or could an existing, polished app do the same thing), and Implementation (which application would be the most valuable one for the charity to use now).
And the Winning Teams Are...
Everyone who tore through the 40 hours of hackathon-ing should be absolutely proud of themselves. Regardless of the outcome ('cause hello, building a working app in 40 hours is doable, but also insane), every person who stepped foot onto Capital One’s Gift the Code floor in Ryerson's Mattamy Athletic Centre has leveled up to hero status.
These people not only want the world to be different but they are willing to do something about it.
So here are the teams that rose to the occasion and built digital gold that is set to be implemented by six local charities.
Kids Help Phone: tim_hort0ns
The tim_hort0ns team built a web-based motivational dashboard for counselors to provide three levels of social communication and gamification, including a Twitter-style platform for counselors to share experiences, get live feedback and enhance community support. As well as a stats page displaying real-time performance metrics for counselors, and progressive metrics.
Autism Ontario: Super Casual
Super Casual built a user-friendly repository for Autism Ontario's wealth of information that their members can access through manipulation of categories and tags. Users can identify their purpose in a few clicks and easily access information customized to their individual needs. If you don't know what you need to know for optimized research, this will be an excellent basis for beginners to start on their quest for knowledge.
SisBot built the Sistering Chatbot that provides an interactive experience for potential volunteers, intuitively guiding them on the volunteering process, including virtual tours and past volunteer experiences.
Careers Education Empowerment (CEE) Centre for Young Black Professionals: Three Comma Club
The Three Comma Club provided a solution for migrating data from Kobo into HubSpot. The resulting intention is to build a flexible, manageable database of members that amalgamates the pertinent data of each member into one concise file.
Agility built a Conference Engagement Tool which includes an admin portal that will create, edit and delete data for users, such as gamification awards and redemption items. The tool's mobile-friendly scanning application is the access point between vendors and attendees for awarding and redeeming points.
The 519: Hello Stash
This is the collection of incredible hacking teams that I got to interact with and judge based on my working knowledge of user experience, development, and design.
I was absolutely blown away by the ingenuity that poured out through all of the teams dedicating their weekend to help The 519.
As a team of five judges, we were hard-pressed to choose a winning team, as nearly all applications would be highly beneficial to The 519 with immediate implementation. Nail-biting, sweat, and fine-toothed-comb nit-picking was involved to determine exactly which application would be needed most, right this minute, to get The 519 on the right path optimal levels of digital organization.
It was so hard to decide, and every team should feel accomplished.
But congratulations ultimately goes to Hello Stash.
Hello Stash went as far as branding their application, creating a highly customizable, thorough, and user-friendly form that The 519's future userbase can easily fill out, and for The 519 to easily access in an organized method.
It's one thing to collect member information, it's another to be able to organize the collected data into actionable groups for better communication.
That poor guy standing in the middle of this group photo. He probably blinked just as I took this picture, but I also wouldn't be surprised if he was sleeping while standing after spending 40 hours hacking away! His team's efforts are going to have such an incredible impact on how The 519 stays in touch with their community from here on out. *high fives*
Implementation winners were also invited to join Capital One at their annual Hack Day event. Hack Day is dedicated to a full hand-off of solutions from Implementation Winners to Charity Partners. All participants are invited to Hack Day to ensure that this hand-off is successful, smooth and as easy as possible. Participants are able to join one of the winning Implementation teams to help them complete and hand-off their work, or they can choose to continue working on their own solution in order to brief the charity on proper implementation.
Gift The Code's eShop (aka GitHub)
The applications built during the hackathon are open to all, in hopes that charities with similar issues can benefit from Gift the Code’s hackathon and this year’s core group of implementation winners.
If you want to see what was developed, check out Gift the Code's eShop (aka GitHub) which lists all of the projects tackled, and grants access to each free project on GitHub for you to fork around with if that's how you do you.
Keep an eye on GiftTheCode.ca for next year’s updates!