Client:United Nations and OpenCamps
Date:July 20, 2016

Unite for Humanity Hackathon

In July 2016, I was on the organizing team for the Unite for Humanity Hackathon, one of 30+ Open Camps held at the United Nations over three weeks. My main task was planning logistics and preparing challenges based on the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Hackathon was unusual in that instead of the usual overnight event, this one was held over an entire week of activities, including guest speakers and ideation sessions, plus an overnight sprint at the UN General Assembly Building in New York City.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

My co-producer, Amine Tourki and I divided responsibilities. Amine focused on working with Hackathon teams, coordinating communications, via a Gitter Channel, preparing rooms and equipment and advising teams, while I focused on booking speakers, helping sponsors create challenges and setting up resources on the Unite for Humanity Github site.

Screenshot of Unite for Humanity Hackathon Github site

Unite for Humanity Hackathon Github site

Our opening event was held in a conference room in the UN General Assembly building. Speakers included our host Radia Funna, Head of Innovation at the UN Office of Information and Communications Technology, who presented on the OITC Crowdsourcing Platform, Humana Khan, Executive Director of and Mubin Shaikh, a Counterterrorism Subject Matter Expert. Khan and Shaikh discussed counter-terrorism activities via Skype, followed by presentations by other challenge sponsors, including Wendy Brawer of Greenmap System,  Sonia Hamel fro DOable, Marcus Iannozzi
of B Lab on Being a Tech Focused B-Corp, and others.

Screenshot from Unite for Humanity EtherPad

Unite for Humanity EtherPad

It was really good to hear which of the UN goals people were most fired up about and that also helped people form teams. One woman said she was a UX designer and could do great pitch decks. And since I was building the event repository, I offered to help with research or datasets.

Over the course of the week, we met daily with teams on the 27th floor of the UN Secretariat building. We worked with teams through project ideation all week up to our final weekend sprint at UN General Assembly. Some of the artifacts created included affinity diagrams, sketches and workflows.

Target SGDs, Unite for Humanity Hackathon, United Nations WHO: Affinity diagram of actors, Unite for Humanity Hackathon, United NationsGraph of actors, climate change vs counterterrorism, Unite for Humanity Hackathon, United Nations
Loop and Benefit Metrics, Unite for Humanity Hackathon, United Nations

#ProjectScarlett was the first place winner of the Unite for Humanity Hackathon. Additional project descriptions are available at the Unite for Humanity Github.

Team photo. #ProjectScarlett, winner of the 2nd Annual Unite for Humanity Hackathon

#ProjectScarlett, winner of the 2nd Annual Unite for Humanity Hackathon. Team leader: Mario Salazar (front row, center)