Congrats again to David Kohn, Sydney Informatics Hub’s resident hackathon wizard, for another impressive performance at 2018’s GovHack competition. GovHack is an annual data hackathon focussed on using open government data for the public good. His Bubbles project aims to pierce through segregated information communities – that is, through the bubbles that we all find ourselves in – to impart important knowledge to benefit people and our society at large.
David and his partners in ‘TeamTeam’ tackled the question of data driven narratives, and put them to use to help with two very different issues. The first was to help connect Australians from different demographics and communities and build empathy between people with different experiences. They created a prototype web app Bubbleburst, which guides users along a story about the difficulties faced by our ageing population.
The second, Bubblebot takes an ingenious new approach to interventions in the area of personal bankruptcy. Intended to sit on the ATO website, this ‘chat bot’ will greet website users who are more likely to be at risk of personal insolvency, and tell a brief story about the issue. The key is that the story is followed by links to more information and assistance – delivering vital knowledge to Australians who might be at risk of bankruptcy, or perhaps their friends and loved ones.
TeamTeam’s efforts with Bubbles won the Australians’ stories prize (sponsored by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare), as well as the Intriguing combinations prize (sponsored by Digital Transformation Agency).
Well done, David and TeamTeam!
If you’re interested in practicing your problem solving, teamwork and coding skills, all under the pressure of limited time, and all for great causes (or prizes!), have a look for upcoming hackathons around Sydney and Australia in the Disruptor’s Handbook. And if you’re a University of Sydney student or staff member, be sure to let us know how you go!