Houston
Menu
Gradient overlay

WE LOVE HOU

Written by
Michelle Coffey
Published
June 29, 2017
Categories

It’s that time of year again—the weather is getting distinctively warmer, so we Houstonians do what we need to do to survive—head inside and keep up the good work.

We had such a great experience with the civic/tech community at last year’s Hackathon and our successful Johns Beware project, that we couldn’t wait to get the band back together and do it again. We also felt like this was largely an untapped audience when it came to understanding the value of design, and what better place to build alliances to make our city and world a better place?

Evan O’Neil sharing how design impacts a Hackathon project

This year Sketch City put on a series of Pre-Hackathon workshops to better enable the community to hit the ground running on Hackathon weekend. Evan O’Neil and I offered to do a workshop on the role of design in the process, and we enlisted the help of some multi-disciplinary friends to help us present on ideation and design thinking. The community collects a repository of ideas all year long, but some of those are better scoped than others. Our goal was to prepare people to identify and develop the best ideas quickly so they could get to the work of building their tools—it’s only 24 hours after all!

Using our Johns Beware project experience as a case study, we spoke about:

  • Team Formation (what role a designer can play on your team)
  • Ideation + Scoping (how design thinking explores ideas and develops a project)
  • Branding + Identity (the value of naming and visually communicating your project)
  • The Pitch (how to talk about the power of your project in 3 minutes)
  • Beyond the 24 Hours (building in hooks along the way that can be expanded on after the official Hackathon timeline)

Hackathon Day! Teams are formed and get to work // Photo by Alan Nguyen (@alan4america)

Hackathon Day! Teams are formed and get to work // Photo by Alan Nguyen (@alan4america)

This year’s Hackathon experience wasn’t quite the same Cinderella story—due to scheduling conflicts, I wasn’t able to join the team until after the Team Formation and Ideation/Scoping, so it felt a bit like getting dropped into the frying pan. The room was FULL, the monitors were kicking off heat, the team was so large that we had a satellite group in the next building, and several disparate projects were in the works.

Neeraj Tandon sharing our progress with Sketch City founder Jeff Reichman // Photo by Alan Nguyen (@alan4america)

BUT we dove into the fire and got to work. Think about the audience…why should they care…what is the point…why does it matter…how does it all fit together…how do we frame it…who should we be talking to…trying to ask all the right questions in a short amount of time.

Michelle Coffey and Veronica Ramos shaping the NeedHOU project // Photo by Alan Nguyen (@alan4america)

We had the great fortune to once again have project “clients” in the room—service providers who are on the ground doing the daily work of taking care of Houstonians in need. We decided the best thing we could do for them was to connect service providers to a database where they could best match clients to the best fit for their needs. It’s simple, it’s much-needed, it could help a broad audience, and it would make efficient use of all the hard-working non-profits we already have in Houston.

One of our non-profit clients sharing the complexity of needs with us. // Photo by Alan Nguyen (@alan4america)

All 25 teams were able to present their projects to Mayor Turner and the rest of the judges. // Photo by Alan Nguyen (@alan4america)

All 25 teams were able to present their projects to Mayor Turner and the rest of the judges. // Photo by Alan Nguyen (@alan4america)

All 25 teams were able to present their projects to Mayor Turner and the rest of the judges. // Photo by Alan Nguyen (@alan4america)

NeedHOU was chosen as one of the 3 finalists that will present to the Mayor later this summer, so be on the lookout for it in the coming months!

Back-to-back Hackathon champs! // Photo by Alan Nguyen (@alan4america)

Back-to-back Hackathon champs! // Photo by Alan Nguyen (@alan4america)

Written by Michelle Coffey

Comments
AIGA encourages thoughtful, responsible discourse. Please add comments judiciously, and refrain from maligning any individual, institution or body of work. Read our policy on commenting.
LOADING...