Tag Archives: civic hacking

Reflecting upon hackathons by their participants

Thomas James Lodato and Carl DiSalvo give a good overview of what hackathons are in their recent article:

Hackathons are rapid design and development events at which volunteer participants come together to conceptualize, prototype, and make (mostly digital) products and services.

Coupling with the rapid pace of conceptualising a product or service, prototyping and making do with limited time and resources during the event, is the competition with other teams for the prizes, ranging from cash rewards to a spot in an incubator programme that could potentially transform the initial idea at a hackathon into a startup success.

We often see coverage of the winning teams, their ideas and sometimes their presentations before the judging panel. However, we do not necessarily know how participants reflect upon their own experiences, problems they encounter along the way and adjustments to their goals and strategies under time pressure.

In this blogpost, we try to give a glimpse of these aspects by asking participants how and what they did in the Global Data Fest/Smart City Hackathon which took place in Dublin between 6 – 8 March, 2015. The videos were taken before the teams presented their ideas to the judges, which means they did not know who were going to win and thus the conversation was not about their ‘winning experiences’. Instead, the videos are about how they took into account of all sorts of challenges and the advice they received from the mentors to finish their project. In doing so, we also wish to create cultural memory for the participants and for one the various pursuits of transforming Dublin into a smart city.

Here they are!

Project: Life Tracking

Project: EmuLUX

Project: CityBuzz

Project: BikeRack

Project: Bintel

Project: BedCount

We thank the participants and also David Prendergast from Intel, who also gave a talk for our seminar series, for making the videos happen.

Sung-Yueh

New paper: Solutions, Strategies and Frictions in Civic Hacking

A new paper by Sung-Yueh Perng and Rob Kitchin – Solutions, Strategies and Frictions in Civic Hacking  – has been published on SSRN as Programmable City Working Paper 10.  The abstract runs thus:

Through the development and adoption of technical solutions to address city issues the smart city seeks to create effortless and friction-free environments and systems. Yet, the design and implementation of such technical solutions are friction-rich endeavours which produce unanticipated consequences and generate turbulence that foreclose the creation of friction-free city solutions. In this paper we argue that a focus on frictions is important for understanding civic hacking and the role of social smart citizens, providing an account of frictions in the development of a smart city app. The empirical study adopted an ethnographically informed mobile methods approach to follow how frictions emerge and linger in the design and production of a queuing app developed through civic hacking. In so doing, the paper charts how solutions have to be worked up and strategies re-negotiated when a shared motivation meets differing skills, perspectives, codes or designs; how solutions are contingently stabilised in technological, motivational, spatiotemporal and organisational specificities rather than unfolding in a smooth, linear, progressive trajectory.

Download the PDF