How can we use the opportunities of digitalisation to our benefit to maintain contacts and master challenges in our everyday lives? Under the hashtag #WirVsVirus (us vs virus), a hackathon organised by the German federal government took place from 20 to 22 March. The hashtag is still taking the web by storm and reminding us of the act of digital solidarity that almost 23,000 people took part in.
I found out about the hackathon through a social media post a friend made. I saw it as an opportunity to make my small contribution to overcoming the current situation.
The main aim of the hackathon was to develop creative ideas and digital projects from many aspects of life that could help with the current crisis. All participants had 48 hours’ time to form groups, choose a challenge, and complete it. Some 1,500 projects were submitted.
SYC (Share that you care) was my team’s submission. SYC is an app that supports social heroes on various levels. Social heroes are people that work in key professions. The SYC platform lets both social heroes and supporters create profiles in order to connect with each other. Social heroes then receive messages that convey the feeling of thanks and appreciation and you can also make small financial contributions. Supporters can also offer to take on daily chores for the social heroes—such as doing their food shopping. In these times of social distancing, SYC is our contribution to bringing people together.
During our research, we came across a platform that has similar aims. Within 48 hours we’d secured a call with the developers and MDs and begun talking about a collaboration. On 30/03/2020, the government decided which of the projects would receive their support. While SYC unfortunately didn’t make it into the top 20, our team had gained the opportunity to apply for the “Solution Enabler” programme, earning us the support of mentors and experts. The best 150 projects will earn a place in the mentoring programme. Depending on the success of our application, we might be able to make SYC a reality.
My personal highlight of the hackathon? The feeling that, together with my group, we will be able to make a difference! We are keeping in touch on LinkedIn and keeping each other updated as we take the next steps.