Random Hacks of Kindness is more than just two hackathon weekends each year. These hackathons are flashpoints in year-round development, engagement, and impact. When the RHoK Core Team met recently for our biannual reflection meeting we focused heavily on the development of resources and support to sustain hacks emerging from RHoK events and better support the year-round RHoK community. This has taken form as the RHoK Sustainability Project. Today we are ready to announce the project and explain a bit about what you can expect.
The most exciting component of the project is the introduction of sustainability partnerships. A sustainability partner is an organization that will identify RHoK projects that have high potential for real-world impact and help those projects realize that potential.
At the next RHoK event each partner will select a number of projects to mentor for six months. The resources available to selected projects will vary from partnership to partnership but will include things like financial support, developer support, media and publicity, relationship building, and outreach. The partners will also report work and progress back to the RHoK core team in order to contribute to public awareness and the value of RHoK, as well as bring greater resources to bear where possible.
The selection of solutions for these partnerships will be influenced by the focus of each partner organization. For example, an organization that has a lot of involvement in post-disaster resource management might be looking to sustain projects related to that field of work, whereas another organization might have a more general view on projects it can support. The eligibility guidelines will be made available to the entire RHoK community as we approach the June global event.
Over the next few weeks we will be introducing the sustainability partners for the June 2012 RHoK Global event. We will be tracking the progress and resulting impact of the solutions that are sustained by these partnerships throughout the year.
Featured Problem Sets
Something we hear a lot from the community is the desire for more focused, refined problem definitions. Many participants want to jump into something that has a recognized need and a focused sense of direction, as well as a strong sponsor that can be a part of the development process.
Beginning at RHoK in June we will be introducing a featured global problem set. Each problem in this set will have a clear focus, a notable sponsor, and will have been refined by engineers and experts at the core partner organizations: the World Bank, NASA, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and HP. This problem set will help kick-start local and global collaboration.
We also recognize the value of serendipity at RHoK events and we never want to discourage that. Featured problem sets will be there to offer structure and focus for those who want it without taking away from on-the-spot collaboration at RHoK hackathons that result in conception of world-changing ideas.
Communication and Follow-Through
Every solution emerging from a RHoK event has potential. The core partnership is in a unique position to assess and assist teams in realizing that potential.
The RHoK Core Team will be comprehensively following up with teams and solutions after each RHoK event. What progress has been made? What are your roadblocks? What are your technical goals? What expertise do you need?
At a minimum, teams can expect to connect with RHoK organizers at 4, 8, 16, and 24 weeks after each hackathon. In addition, there will be more local follow-up meetings, a stronger local event organizer community, and sustained communication with the community via social media and the RHoK.org blog.
The global RHoK event in June will feature pilot versions of many elements of the Sustainability Project. Throughout the year we will be learning from these pilots and expanding them, as well as bringing in additional components that are not yet ready for prime-time such as a RHoK internship program and university partnerships. Stay tuned and come back in a few days to learn about the first sustainability partner, Geeks Without Bounds, and more details about what these partnerships will provide.