After organizing the Challenge Today for Tomorrow in Križevci, we did not rest, but moved on. So, with the help of nine partners, we designed and implemented online Hackathon VersusVirus nationally. With the mobilization of cities and mentoring, our task was also communication. What does that mean? This means that everything you have read or heard about this hackathon has been curated by us.
Organizing a national Hackathon is not an easy thing that is done in two days, but it seemed like it. These are just some of the preparatory activities we did before launching the hackathon call:
- The roles were divided among the organizers, and everyone gave their vision of the hackathon.
- Voted for the hackathon name and then the visual identity of the hackathon was created.
- Hackathon text was created for the website.
- At the same time, the web site was developed, as well as the media announcement and FB event.
- Public call for applications
- The web was done Tuesday night and an invitation was immediately posted to the FB event with a link to the website.
Since it was already nine o’clock in the evening, we stayed with social networking and personal contact with all partners and friends that continued through Friday. We addressed the media on Wednesday morning when a press release was sent.
There were two major challenges in communicating the VersusVirus Hackathon: there was no communication plan and there was very little time for promotion. That’s why all the organizers got involved in spreading the information. The effort has paid off, more than 40 media outlets have published information on VersusVirus Hackathon, gradonačelnik.hr (media partner), Večernji List, ZIMO Dnevnik, Studentski.hr, BUG, Business, H-alter, Ekovjesnik and so on. An interview with Sandra Vlasic, member of ZEZ, also appeared on the tech portal Netokracija. Zoran Kordić, our manager, appeared on HRT’s program Good Morning Croatia. The news didn’t bypass the airwaves either, so you could hear the hackathon call on Radio Sljeme, Laganini FM and Radio HRT1.
The Hakathon officially kicked off on Friday night with an opening ceremony, but ideas were shared and teams formed earlier in the day in Slack. After 48 hours of team work, the jury selected the top five.
Three of the top five solutions for children and parents. Chatbot Dejana will help parents and teachers implement distance learning for children with disabilities. Naucime.online is a platform that helps connect students and mentors, to master school material, and the Stay (in) sane parenting hub helps all parents better organize their kids’ time, responsibilities and fun during self-isolation days. All parents among you will easily be able to use one of these solutions! Tilda is a digital donation platform through which help is collected for people in need such as those who were left homeless in the recent earthquake in Zagreb. In return for the donation, it offers customers a digital call with celebrities. The Green community rooftops for a better life wants to create rooftop gardens and balconies that contribute to our self-sustainability in terms of food, better air quality and urban quality of life.
These winning ideas are the result of a 48-hour anti-virus virus hackathon #versusvirusHR held this weekend that brought together 136 participants in a joint “hacking” of problems caused by the SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 pandemic.
VersusVirus is the first hackathon in the crisis time in Croatia held entirely in the virtual world, not counting the Challenge Today for tomorrow, which we successfully organized the week before in Križevci, which was a kind of hybrid between hackathon and challenge. As of Friday night, fifty hackers assembled across 15 teams worked on developing their ideas with the help of thirty mentors at their disposal. The task was to come up with innovative solutions to the problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Solutions were sought for a wide range of topics, from rapid crisis responses, the economy, education, the arts to community empowerment, the environment, governance, health, and solidarity. Participants and organizers were in constant contact through the Slack online application and the Zoom video conferencing platform, where they exchanged ideas, praise, criticism and even arranged exchange of fresh yeast.
In addition to the help of mentors, the teams also had the opportunity to follow virtual lectures to further learn or strengthen the knowledge and skills – how to maintain mental strength in times of crisis, what is impact and how to create projects with positive impact, o how to prepare a good story for a video, how to present an idea well, and some surprises in selling or coming up with mature ideas.
One of the participants, Martina Anisic, summarized her experience: “I participated in the hackathon for the first time because I liked the idea of working with talented people from different fields to find innovative solutions to the COVID-19 crisis in just one weekend. This has resulted in meeting people with different skills and experience, but with the same ambition – to make the most of our skills and come up with solutions that will specifically help our fellow citizens. I am thrilled with this event and the mentors who have been with us every step of the way – congratulations to this great event and I look forward to seeing what impact it will have on our community. ”
To combat the virus and deal with this and any other crisis, because they are all linked, we must be united, in solidarity, cooperate and act outside our established frameworks, and that is exactly what happened at the VersusVirus national hackathon on Sunday night.
The organizers of this event, who spent hours volunteering to pass the event without any difficulties, are: Impact Hub Zagreb, Technology Park Varaždin, Green Energy Cooperative, Terra Hub, North-West Croatia Regional Energy Agency, Lean Startup Croatia, Porin Development Agency, EIT RIS Climate KIC Hub Croatia, Ivy Digital and EduNorth.
We thank all participants and mentors and support organizations who will provide the further support needed to implement the ideas.
For more information on the winning ideas:
Web link at https://versusvirus.hr/ or https://versusvirus-croatia.devpost.com/.