So here I am at the Shelter Scotland Product Forge hackathon, sitting in the hotdesk area of CodeBASE.  There’s a hive of activity going on around me, with teams either in the full flow animated chat, or deep in thought as they work their way through their ideas.

This is the first time we have done a hackathon it’s been great working with the guys from Product Forge, and we are really looking forward to seeing what comes out of the whole process.

Of course you may be reading this going ‘what is a bloody hackathon?’ Let me be honest, I’m not far behind you in asking that question. So let me tell you what I’ve learnt so far. A hackathon is where you get people together from various backgrounds across the digital and business worlds so they can develop products, such as mobile apps, websites, or any other online resource. The subject of this hackathon is housing and homelessness. The teams sit in a room for 2-3 days to hack an idea and come up with a product they then present to a panel of judges, who will decide which is the best.

The hackathon launched last night, in conjunction with the Internet of Things (IoT)) Edinburgh meet up, where the theme was Smart City Tech & Social Housing with talks from Adam Lang (Shelter Scotland), Cyril Dyer (IDE International) and Simon Scerri Taylor (Arqiva).

We then got down to the nitty gritty of participant introductions and team formations. Teams are made-up of 3-4 people, we end up with 8 teams who are working on a variety of ideas:

Chatomate – Who are working on a chat bot for private renters.

Nandemo – Quiz/help guide that links people to housing and homeless resources.

GoGoGos – The mapping of available housing/homelessness service.

Pineapple – A banking app that help people budget between weekly and monthly costs.

Acey – Step by step guide to help people and signpost them to local services.

Kiwi – A calendar text messaging service.

Orange – A game that illustrates the process of getting a home.

Xtreme – Interactive fiction guide, to help people through the experience of being homeless.

It all comes to a head tomorrow evening where the teams will be presenting their ideas to a panel of judges, if you’re interested in watching we are live streaming it all.



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