Johanna Mair, Professor of Organization, Strategy and Leadership at the Hertie School and Fellow at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and I study how such digital collaborative events can quickly generate creative, viable solutions to problems like those related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
#WirVsVirus is the open call of a consortium of civil society organisations supported by the German government to create solutions for the social, economic and medical challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. In March, 26,500 participants worked in teams to generate almost 1,500 ideas during the 48-hour hackathon. Twenty of the hackathon’s best ideas were awarded, while a further 130 projects have become part of a post-hackathon program that supports their implementation.
Our aim is to review the hackathon and the post-hackathon phase in real time. Together, we want to gain insights into best practices and identify challenges that occur throughout the ideation and implementation process. This kind of approach will enable us to draw lessons from the initiative more immediately and develop recommendations for policy and practice. In the long term, we want to use our research to make a scientific contribution to socio-technical transitions through technology-supported participatory architectures.
The Head of the German Chancellery, Prof. Helge Braun, supports our project. Anna Hupperth of Tech4Germany, spokeswoman of the hackathon consortium, said, “The accompanying research not only allows us to draw lessons from our initiative, but also supports the momentum for debate on how civil society can be an established part of digital social innovation processes.”
I also published an article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review on “Countering Coronavirus with Open Social Innovation”, which can be accessed here.