What is a Hackathon?
A hackathon is a fall semester event designed to innovate new ideas that address complex problems. Hackathons originated in the technology field and have slowly been applied to new spaces like social innovation. Typically, teams receive a topic and have 24 hours to “hack” it. They are fast-paced, high energy and produce ideas that are intended to address challenges, transform communities, improve systems or create products or services that change the way we interact with our world, communities, and with each other.
What is social innovation?
Today’s change-makers are using innovation to generate new ideas that address complex world issues. Social innovation seeks novel advancements to social problems that are more effective, efficient and sustainable than existing practices. The primary purpose of social innovation is to promote the common good through problem-solving and creative solutions. Participants will be provided with tools to tackle social, environmental, and human justice challenges.
How will it work?
Prior to the event, the Centennial Center will select a topic based on a complex local or global issue with input from the HWS community. Participants can enter as a team of 3 or 4 (including faculty or staff members) or enter as an individual and be placed on a team. On Saturday morning, the topic will be revealed. Teams will have 24 hours to create an idea that addresses or helps to solve the local or global issue.
By providing a creative environment, knowledge and resources, participants will be prepared to be social innovators who can tackle real world problems. Saturday will be jam-packed with speakers, workshops and team planning sessions. Sunday, teams will design a presentation that outlines their idea and pitch it. Judges will award a $500 prize to the winning team and $200 to one runner up.
Who is eligible?
Any current HWS student can apply. All majors and levels of experience are welcome. Participants can enter with a team of 3 or 4 (including faculty or staff members) or be matched with a team. Only participants who can commit for the whole weekend are eligible.
What will participants learn?
This weekend is designed to be one of learning. Expect to be challenged. Participants will engage in careful information gathering in order to critically analyze an issue. Through topics in social innovation, participants will acquire problem-solving skills necessary to address an issue. Participants will leave with a new network of student, faculty and staff who are interested in making a positive impact in the world. Social innovation is a powerful tool for today’s change agents and participants will be trained in these cutting-edge concepts.
What will the schedule be like?
The schedule will be intensive but fun! Participants will be fired up with workshops through most of Saturday. Participants will also have plenty of time to work with their teams. Sunday will be designed around making a pitch. All meals will be provided along with plenty of snacks to keep energy high.