Hack-ney-thon a Hack-ney-success
The borough's top creative and tech firms came together to come up with some winning solutions to improve the Council's digital services.
The Hack-ney-thon, saw the Council team up with partners from Tech City to host the first event of its kind. More than 70 enthusiastic developers and programmers attended the 23 hour session to compete for the title of ‘Hackney Hacker 2014’.
Seven teams took up the challenge early on Saturday morning to design digital solutions to make several Council areas better for residents and the Council to use. The areas included the online system to register births, marriages and deaths, and how interested parties are told of available commercial properties to purchase.
After being given a range of open source data sets from the organisers, the teams got down to the challenge at-hand. Teams worked throughout Saturday until 8pm, with some developers taking the challenge home and working throughout the night to ensure they were ready for Sunday where presentations for the finished entries would be given and the winner would be announced.
After each of the seven teams presented their ideas, the judging panel of Gerard Grech, Tech City UK, Christian Alhert, Minibar Labs and Hackney Council staff awarded the title of ‘Hackney Hacker’ to Jacopo Hirschstein, a co-founder of a small data visualisation studio in Hackney Wick.
The winning solution ‘Fix Hackney’ allows members of the public to report and track response times and spending for areas of the borough that require different services such as graffiti removal or maintenance repair. The winning design was awarded for its usefulness, technical sophistication, creativity, cost effectiveness and ultimately how it will help to improve the lives of residents.
Second place was awarded to Twilio, who developed a system of alerting residents, via text message, to planning and statutory notices within a 1-3km distance of a current location. Third place was awarded to Booking Bug who designed a bespoke booking system for the registrar service, to allow residents to book or pay online.
The event was a great success and brought together some of the best creative and tech talent from across the borough to collaborate with the Council to develop new ways of providing better local public services that will benefit residents. Working in teams some exciting ideas were realised, ideas that the Council has committed to take forward, try out and apply to improve the Council’s systems and processes and make local services ever more accessible. There is a real appetite to expand this innovative and unique relationship between local businesses and the Council and to explore how other Council services could be improved and go on to make Hackney an even better place to live in!