Hacks for good can be polarising in how they’re perceived, with good reason. Coming together to create something for social good is a concept to be applauded. However it’s easy to fall into traps like omitting to involve people working in the field, mistakenly believing that the hack is the solution as opposed to a step on the way to a solution, or trying to solve fundamental social issues.
Studio Republic overcame the most common hack day pitfalls by involving charity workers, hacking with no strings attached, and working on specific problems faced by charities or their beneficiaries.
The theme for the day was to create something to benefit or support homelessness services and briefs, in the form of problems or issues, had been provided by several charities and organisations. Contributors to included national charity, Shelter, and local homelessness charity, The Society of St James. The selected briefs came from Winchester City Council’s outreach team and regional youth homelessness charity Step by Step. Professional experience and input was delivered by Tony Keall, operations director at the Society of St James.
Taking the theme of ‘local services for local people’, a brief from the outreach team at Winchester City Council, the team from Hinge delivered an app that could be updated by multiple member organisations and individuals at a service provision level. The app would provide current information for support workers in the field; covering accommodation, food, advice, health, housing, and outreach.
Inspired by briefs that mentioned measuring impact, and with a desire to develop a product that more directly supported people who’d experienced homelessness, the Rareloop team set about building an app to support well-being in homeless people.
Adam, lead developer at Rareloop shared:
“We looked at using technology to help the homeless learn the skills required for independent living by encouraging positive habits. Super proud of what we came up with, great work team.”
Two Studio Republic developers and one designer teamed up with Syd from The Bot Platform to tackle a brief centred on generating a secure and reliable way for support workers to deliver notes into a database or CRM without returning to an office-based desktop computer. Using voice recognition software and bot technology, the team worked up two proof of concept developments that could be developed into functioning products to address the need identified by the charity.
Dan, strategist at Studio Republic said of the day,
“To say that we’re pleased with the outcomes of the day would be an understatement. Having Tony from Society of St James on hand to give experienced feedback as and when the teams needed it informed changes and led to developments that have potential to be picked up and run with. Hack for Good will be back in 2019!”