Why Hackathons Just Can't Hack it Anymore

Why Hackathons Just Can't Hack it Anymore

"We have a lot of data, but we have no idea what we should do with it."

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Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 1:00pm

CAMPAIGN: Pro Bono Week

CONTENT: Article

This is a common sentiment among organizations who are working to make the world a better place. And it would be all too easy to think that a weekend hackathon can solve everything. But data scientists can do much, much more.

Hackathons just aren't enough to solve the biggest problems we face as a society. Dealing with data requires a clear problem definition, the insight of both policy and data experts, and a sensitivity to think through the true implications of the data at hand. Hackathons are great for getting started-- not to mention a lot of fun!-- but often lack the resources to deliver meaningful results.

We run two kinds of programs to help data scientists volunteer their time: DataDives and DataCorps. Both are designed to bring together experts in the issues with experts in the data and generate meaningful insights that can be put into use. And we provide the pizza, so it still feels like an old-fashioned hackathon!

DataKind is thrilled to be a part of Pro Bono Week, stewarded by the Taproot Foundation, October 20-26. Taproot knows that value that skilled pro bono volunteers can bring to an organization. In October, we're joining them for a series of events around the idea of spreading the pro bono ethic. Lawyers are expected to take time out of their daily job to serve those in need. Why shouldn't other professionals, like data scientists, analysts, coders and developers be able to integrate this pro bono ethic into their daily work lives?

By pairing DataKind volunteers who are ready to make an in depth commitment to a deserving organization, we can put data science to work in the service of humanity.

In October we'll be celebrating the work of our amazing DataKind volunteers, who are spending their free evenings and weekends bringing meaningful change to groups like Refugees United, NexLeaf, GiveDirectly and MobileMedic, just to name a few.

Join us for Pro Bono Week!


About DataKind

DataKind™ is a community of pioneering data scientists, visionary changemakers, community builders, and social innovators with the talent, commitment and energy to open the door and use data science in the service of humanity. We believe that improving the quality of, access to, and understanding of data in the social sector will lead to better decision-making and greater social impact.  www.datakind.org

About Pro Bono Service

Pro bono--short for pro bono publico, "for the public good"—refers to professional services delivered without expectation of a fee to organizations serving the social good. It is both a form of support for community organizations as well as an increasingly core part of the ethic of business professionals from design to HR and technology, who believe that high-quality professional services are too important to only be available to those who can afford them.