Just as many hands make light work, many coders solve big problems. This is something the Global Hack for Good undoubtedly proved when on September 7 of 2019 hundreds of participants across the world came together to solve real-world problems through the power of hacking.
The initiative was driven by 20 individuals from all across the world who came together determined to combine cumulative brain and computing powers on the same day for a good cause. Incredibly, 10 of these persons were Microsoft BizApps MVPs, while three of those – Ee Lane Yu, James Novak and Eric Sauvé – took time to share with us the event’s story.
The roots of the Global Hack for Good can be traced back to the first seed of an idea shared between MVPs William Dorrington and Ee Lane Yu. William had been instrumental in delivering the 2019 Hack for Good, and he and EE often joked about replicating that success with an event through which Microsoft Powerapp-ers from around the world could hack on the same day for a good cause. Inspired by the idea, they got to work, dedicating an extraordinary amount of time to bringing the vision to life.
William almost singlehandedly built the website hosting the Hackathon teams’ registrations, profiles, and streaming for the day of the event. He also created several instructional videos for streaming, plus built templates for the streaming client that each team used. This allowed Ee Lane and the rest of the team to choose the event theme and content, to advertise, to sign on teams and sponsors, and to coordinate with team leaders and their team members.
All in all, preparations took around a year. In the end, the Global Hack for Good would call on Powerapp-ers to come together simultaneously and work on a shared issue - certainly no mean feat when timezones and personal lives are in the mix.
Organizers as well as participants were ultimately being asked to sacrifice after work and weekend hours, away from family and friends, to hack for social good and raise money for three select charity organizations.
Nonetheless, the community endeavoured to make it happen. Streamed live from 10 nations, participating teams were given four-and-a-half hours to build the best possible solution they could focused on education.
There were no egos nor ‘competitor’ mindsets, with everyone involved passionate about providing a solution for good! Of course, food, drinks and music helped to make the atmosphere all the more enjoyable.
The event resembled a global party rather than a global hack - Japan had a room full of balloons and disco lights, Australia had food and drink flowing from the get-go, and Scotland had a “scran” table with all Scottish food delights.
“I will never forget the feeling of that day,” Ee Lane says. “It felt so surreal and I got goosebumps just watching all the teams around the world hacking together.”
Better yet - this energy transferred over to social media as international teams happily shared their experiences and learnings.
The result? Several schools from different parts of the world have made use of the various solutions in some shape or form – this, Ee Lane says, makes it all worth it as the event made a tangible impact!
“We have all learnt and grown so much organising this event. Every single person who participated and observed contributed to the success of the event.”
Events like this just go to show that, as a Microsoft community, there is no problem too big that cannot be faced together.
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