Random Hacks of Kindness is this weekend — who are you going to hack for?
What is Random Hacks?
Random Hacks is a worldwide event where developers, designers, subject matter experts, and other people gather to work together to ‘hack for humanity’ – making progress on big problems like homelessness, educational mobility, access to water, and that’s just the beginning.
There are two global events per year, the first weekend in June and December, respectively. Otherwise, there are also community events that can be held any time of the year, such as Hacks against Corruption, and more.
What makes a great Random Hack?
Attending a couple Random Hacks, I got a picture of what successful groups had in common, and what might have been lacking in groups that didn’t accomplish as much in a weekend.
As you brainstorm and email subject matter experts (jargon for ‘people who want to help people but aren’t necessarily developers’ ex. someone working at a domestic violence center, a teacher, a World Bank analyst, etc.), I suggest you check out the “Social Hacking Canvas.” Mjumbe Poe (of Open Plans, Code for America alum) and I developed it as a tool to help the challenge of problem definition. Defining problems better is a key hurdle to building better solutions.
Defining a problem makes it easier to gather a team, assess their skills, and be productive over the course of (less than, really) 48 hours. I consistently see the best defined problems end up with better solutions – this may be no surprise to someone who’s worked in requirements gathering for software, but to your average subject matter expert, it may be a new concept.
Most RHOK have featured problems. These are suggested problems, and they’re often worked on by teams across the globe. Want to work remotely with your team plus a team in Uganda? These are good targets.
Featured for December 2012: http://www.rhok.org/featured-problems-december-2012
RHOK is also co-hosting the Sanitation Hackathon: http://www.sanitationhackathon.org/
Where do you Random Hack?
There are events all over the world this weekend for Random Hacks, and they’re listed here.
Of course, if you and some people you know want to get together and form a RHOK location/team, it’s not too late! There’s the official planning kit if you want to have an official RHOK event, but nothing’s stopping you from looking at problems and creating solutions to share. All problems list an Owner, and you can send them a private message through the RHOK site, or comment publicly to express your interested in helping.