Hack N Akron 2.0 Brings Real Solutions to Civic Problems

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At our inaugural Hack N Akron event in September 2016, the Launch League community stepped-up to build a foundation for solving come of our City’s biggest challenges. After months of planning and preparation with the City of Akron, Hack N Akron 2.0 took place on Saturday, April 22, 2017 and far exceeded expectations for a follow-on event. Nearly 50 volunteers with backgrounds in marketing, development, web design, content creation and strategy gathered at Whitespace Creative at 8 am, eager to work on their projects. Long before the actual event, the Hack N Akron planning committee had been working for months, meeting with City officials and representatives from the Akron Public Schools to define the scope and objectives of this hackathon. Three problems were chosen, including:

 

The Open Data Team included community members from a variety of organizations ranging from large corporations to independent consultants and freelancers

1. Open data – API & dashboard, open data long-term strategy API & dashboard, open data long-term strategy

Our Neighborhood Branding Team combined marketing, design and content-creation skills from the team members. Neighborhood representatives guided the teams.

2. Neighborhood Branding – Akron style guide, neighborhood logos and websites for Kenmore and Middlebury

Our CLC team had web design and marketing/branding professional working on 29 CLC websites and an online booking form.

3. CLC Booking – online contact form and website listing resources for each CLC

Project managers were selected to lead each team, and project manager meetings were held weeks before the event to ensure teams would be successful.

The event kicked-off with a bang. In addition to the team members, sponsors and other local VIPs were invited to view the opening ceremonies. Special guest speakers included Keevan White, Founder, and CEO of Whitespace Creative, Sherry Neubert, CIO of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company (a Gold Sponsor for this year’s event), and Mayor Dan Horrigan. The Mayor conveyed how important events such as this are to the City – by crowdsourcing solutions to Civic issues, the City believes that we can make a better Akron. He also set the tone for the day, stating that everything the group did today would be used by the City.

As the day started, teams broke up into their pre-assigned groups. Only  30 minutes into the day, teams were already producing solutions to their challenges. As the day went on, Project Managers held “standup” meetings once every two hours to ensure the teams were on-track. By 4 pm, many of the teams had completed their tasks and started work on “stretch goals”. The organization, teamwork, leadership and skill level of all participants was out of this world!

By 7pm, teams were ready to present, and the results of the 12-hour hackathon left the audience in awe.You can listen to a recap of the event on WAKR HERE. We’ve also captured a brief summary:

  • Open Data & Innovation
    • Built endpoints to allow developers to display, filter and express Parcel information
    • Exposed historical parcel sales and appraisals
    • Built advanced features to support Innovation Team
    • Paved the way for new data from other City departments to be integrated
    • Build a property browsing application
    • Performed a gap analysis on current data to establish a better data intake process
    • Created recommendations on city and related data that will enrich our current data sets
    • Listed out long-term data expansion opportunities for the API
    • Established API deliverables for Hack N Akron 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0
  • Neighborhood Branding
    • Styleguide created for easy use for future neighborhoods
    • Homepage map converted to Google maps and enabled hovering to see detail of neighborhoods
    • Map view of neighborhood points of interest added to neighborhood websites
    • New neighborhood sites added, content created for Middlebury and Kenmore
  • Community Learning Centers
    • Created  pages for 29 CLCs with an image, a description, asset lists, and a contact form for each

Next steps for the group include follow-up meetings with the City, and presentations to the Cabinet to discuss implementation and plans for the next hackathon. Special thanks to our planning committee:

  • Byron Delphinal
  • Meghan Goetz
  • Courtney Gras
  • Marko Iskander
  • Dan Nelson
  • Nick Petroski

And our sponsors:

Gold Sponsor: The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company

Bronze Sponsors:  Brouse McDowell, Whitespace Creative, eyemg

Startup Sponsor: Tiny Circuits

It’s a great honor for Launch League to have the opportunity to bring together local talent, make connections to the City, and work together to solve these challenges. We look forward to continuing this effort with Hack N Akron 3.0, coming this fall. Join us at: www.launchleague.org to stay in touch and find out more about our next event!

 

Courtney GrasHack N Akron 2.0 Brings Real Solutions to Civic Problems