The biggest event in our calendar.
We had Rareloop, The Idea Bureau, Etch and Steadfast Collective fill our guest team slots almost instantly and encouraged a collection of freelancers and students to integrate within the agency teams. We secured support from the Mental Health Awareness Week curator Mental Health Foundation, and collected briefs from YMCA, Solent Mind, Shelter, One Community, Waterside Warriors Diabetes and Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust on the theme of body image. We had some incredible sponsorship from Balsamiq, and some other friends of the business helped keep the the event running smoothly, so consider this our appreciative recognition of Open House Deli, Wirehive, The Stable Winchester, and Red Cat Brewing.
We kick started the day with coffee and breakfast, with each team settling into their space. There were a selection of briefs to be selected, all relative to the topic of body image. We reached out to a collection of charities with a wide focus non-exclusive to body image. This was to allow an opportunity for an issue not otherwise directly targeted or funded by the charity to have its own platform.
Without further ado, I greeted the room with a welcoming speech of gratitude. Hack For Good is more than my own event to run, but the amalgamation of incredible generosity and time from many parties. We truly believe in acknowledging others achievements, and the start of the Hack day was our time to reinstate what this event meant to not only Studio Republic, but to the wider community and charities.
Highlights of the Hack.
Our Loft was alight with each individual’s eagerness to create, share and teach everyone else in the room. We had two charities able to attend the day: One Community from Eastleigh and Solent Mind. Their influence on the day was invaluable, with Dave and Kate representing Solent Mind and Abi from One Community. All three spent their time immersed within the teams, not exclusively the team working on their charity’s brief, providing insight and real life examples of the body image related issues our hack day was themed around.
The teams from Etch and Idea Bureau were joined by students from the University of Winchester and Solent University, regulars to our Winchester Creatives event whom had expressed an interest in joining. We also had the likes of freelancer Jack Pritchard and Agency Strategist Richard Coope within the Studio Republic and Etch team respectively, adding extra diversity and curiosity within the teams.
Mid way through the morning we were lucky enough to have Paul Jennings from the High Intensity Network speak to the teams about his experience setting up a groundbreaking, nationwide mental health service from scratch. In a very powerful talk, Paul spoke openly about his struggles with his own mental health. It was this experience that led him to start the High Intensity Network in the first place, after realising the lack of mental health focussed training within the police force. Paul emphasised the importance of days like the hack day, to encourage innovation and push forward positive change. We're very grateful to him for taking the time out of his busy schedule to come and speak on the day, and we felt the clear impact from his raw speech act as kindling to the fire in our teams work.
Our lunch break was catered for by Open House Deli and The Stable Winchester, ensuring we had utilised our local connections with a zero waste cafe in line with our support of the sustainable development goals. We were then joined by Dan Willis from Why Digital, who led a presentation on the impact of charity days. He spoke of the ongoing influence caused by these events, using The Drum’s own Do It Day as an example. Dan was able to share his own experience of living with bipolar, and how the ever changing lessening of stigma and rise of conversation on mental health has supported him and others in coping with their diagnosis and subsequent complications.
The afternoon saw each team begin to create their presentations and use Paul and Dan’s speeches as fuel for their creative. One Community’s brief asked to create a solution for how older generations counter body image concerns which occur through the aging process, and was being worked on by Etch. Prior to their presentation, One Community’s representative Abi was able to work through a funding application with the team due to the potential and success of their idea.
Etch were able to identify the myriad of factors which may cause a lowered self esteem and depression for the elderly, using an impressive number of post-its to illustrate as such. They created Touch Point, an accessible app free of intimidation which may often occur with digital products. Touch Point’s interface is designed specifically with the older user in mind, and is a method of monitoring the users moods, health, consumption, exercise, and other contributing factors to health.
Steadfast Collective worked on a brief provided by Shelter, asking how they could monitor the mental health trends of their staff in order to support them. They created a fully working Laravel app called You Ok?, a daily mood monitoring solution which allows users to easily record their daily wellbeing, account for what the contributing factors may be, this allowing the app to create data fuelled reports to Shelter’s management team. You Ok? could be used by any charity sector beyond Shelter. For more information on You Ok? and Steadfast Collective’s experience at Hack For Good, you may read their blog post.
Studio Republic’s own team chose a brief supplied by Solent Mind, concerning how young students continue their learning and understanding of mental health issues long after a session with Solent Mind has ended. The team created Classport, a non-competitive chatroom based app which acted as both a considerable knowledge resource and an opportunity for users to apply their learning to fictional scenarios and people within the app. For more information on Classport, our Lead Designer Harley wrote a blog article detailing the thought process behind it, the additional features, and how we incorporated the guidance and research from Solent Mind in our app.
Rareloop applied their team to the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust’s brief, which asked for a solution to potential body concerns involved with partaking in one of their trips. Their app solution bought together the trust’s vast research and online material on the subject matter, creating a digital platform which contained a journal, safe pen pal opportunities, shared user stories and a mobile resource point. The app was tailored for both a young person and then their parent or guardian, to reinstate the trust’s research on how critical healthy and informed relationships are between the pair. To read more on Rareloop’s work, you can find their Designer Isaac Lemon’s blog piece on their website.
The Idea Bureau endeavoured to create a solution for YMCA's issue concerning signposting the correct services to their younger audience. The Idea Bureau created the concept of a Microsoft Azure hosted bot, aware that Azure's public cloud possibilities were the ideal match for YMCA's needs. Their bot was designed to utilise Azure's artificial intelligence possibilities with the language of users, thus ensuring the user is correctly supported. The Idea Bureau were able to adapt their app to a sensitive and potentially triggered audience, with a refined user interface designed specifically to trigger psychological reactions of trust.
What Did They Say?
Each agency, freelancer, industry professional and charity representative who joined us on the day created an infectious, positive community. It was an encouraging space to share personal experiences, be supported with potential triggers within the day, and an energetic knowledge sharing platform in our Loft space. We had a myriad of expertise under one roof, all keen to help one another in a non-competitive environment. When somebody called it a community event, we knew we had created something truly special for more than just Studio Republic. It was for the charities, and that's what counts.
We'll be following the outcomes for each presentation, with talks of funding and pitching already starting after our presentations. We believe that hack days are more than a one off feel good event - we want to put just as much time and energy into seeing these solutions come to life and, quite simply, be creative for good.
Hack For Good 2020. I want in.
We'll announce Hack For Good 2020 dates and details as soon as we have them confirmed. If you are interested in joining the hack as a creative agency or freelancer (we don't just want developers - content gurus, copywriters, it's all relative), as a sponsor or as a charity partner then send an email and let's start talking.