Random Hacks Of Kindness 6 Creates Solutions For Humanity’s Challenges
Patrick Svenburg (Chevy Chase, MD) —
Random Hacks of Kindness, or RHoK, is a joint Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, HP, NASA, and World Bank initiative that teams subject-matter experts on global challenges with technical expert volunteers for a 48-hour hackathon. This weekend, June 2-3, RHoK events will occur in over 20 cities around the world.
This coming weekend marks the 6th edition of RHoK. What started as an experiment in 2009 has now grown into a global movement involving an international community of 4,000+ people in 50 cities on 6 continents.
What sets RHoK apart from other hackathons or similar events focused on solving challenging problems is that the events successfully and meaningfully connect subject matter experts – people who have first-hand knowledge of which challenges need to be solved – with the technical volunteer community. Everyone is welcome and everyone can contribute; not only software engineers but also designers,web experts,project managers, GIS specialists, and so on. Anyone who is able, willing and motivated can play a part in RHoK.
What has RHoK spawned so far?
The key concept of such a hackathon event is that by connecting two different communities during a confined time period, we can rapidly prototype solutions in 48 hours or less. These “solutions” manifest themselves in different ways, and cover diverse topic areas such as disaster management, climate change, and healthcare. And there is an ethos of sharing; at the end of each RHoK event, all ideas and solutions that were generated are uploaded to the Web and shared with the world.
Thus far, RHoK has spawned many interesting and impactful solutions. For example:
- A team at RHoK Washington D.C. designed a tool to visualize complex landslide risk algorithms, making the information accessible to local mayors and urban planners making building decisions.
- A team at RHoK in Trento, Italy designed a mobile application that connects charities distributing food to needy populations with restaurants and businesses with excess food to donate.
- A team at RHoK Philadelphia designed a web platform enabling homeless service providers to easily identify empty beds and open soup kitchens for Philadelphia and New Jersey homeless populations.
- A team at RHoK Sydney created a crowdsourcing tool to allow Australian citizens to rapidly report and respond to Bushfires.
RHoK 6 is this weekend
This coming weekend, June 2-3, we will organize RHoK hackathons in over 21 cities around the world. We already have a great set of problem definitions created, including ones from Red Cross, Amnesty International, and even from (new collaborator) Nike, but there is still time to submit ideas that can be worked upon.
Don’t miss the unique opportunity to put your skills and passion to use for the greater good – to hack for humanity! Please visit www.rhok.org/events to sign up for an event near you. We’re looking forward to collaborating with many of you this weekend!
Patrick Svenburg is the director of public sector development and platform evangelism at Microsoft. Patrick last updated Publicyte about RHoK in June, 2011.
Image from WPCentral.