During phase two of our project, partners have identified good practices for working with co-creation and open social innovation during the pandemic. The BOOST Hackathon, a hybrid event, was organized by the Computer Technology Institute & Press “Diophantus” in Patras, Western Greece, in the first year of the pandemic.

The hybrid BOOST Hackathon

About this good practice

The hybrid BOOST Hackathon was organized in Patras by the Computer Technology Institute & Press “Diophantus.

Capitalizing on the successful Chatbot experience from Trento (Autonomous Province of Trento, Italy), BOOST Hackathon was organized to promote the development of programming applications and ideas in the fields of Open Social Innovation and Open Data.

In a week full of Online Seminars, Online Events and Networking actions, the participants had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the technologies of exploiting Open Data and Developing Innovative Applications to develop and implement their own business ideas.

BOOST Hackathon was attended by students, engineers, researchers, programmers, startuppers, who formed teams and proceeded to create innovative applications and services. The participation and contribution of representatives of innovative businesses from Patras and abroad was very important, with experienced professionals guiding the Hackathon teams in the design of their applications. The open data were provided by the participating companies, the Municipality of Patras and the Ministry of Digital Governance of Greece.

The central point of reference was the co-creative space for innovation and development of innovative ideas POS4work Co-Working Space , but the teams participated mainly online. 

During and after the process, all participants were supported to commercialize their applications, describe their Business Idea, transform it into a complete Business Plan and claim initial funding for a start-up business.

Resources needed

The event was initially organized by the team of CTI “Diophantus” (5 people) in cooperation with the team of POS4work (2 people).

A Hackathon is an innovative event, which is becoming currently more popular in Greece. Many of the people interested to participate were not familiarized with the process, and for that reason, a small handbook was created for the participants.

The process of organizing such an event in a hybrid form, with both physical and virtual participation, was a challenge for the team that took up the task, due to the fact that prior to the pandemic period, tools used for remote co-working and co-creating existed but were not used very often, especially in Greece.

The tools used for virtual participation included electronic platforms for web meetings, livestreaming in social media and some selected applications for file uploading and presentation creation.

Evidence of success

According to the data that came up from the online seminars & events, more than 800 people watched the Facebook livestream of most preparatory webinars, including approximately 50 participants. Regarding the competition, 20 participants managed to make it successfully to the finishing line of the two-day main event, the BOOST Hackathon, which run for 24 hours a day. It is important to note that the hybrid character of the event made it possible for people from all over Greece to participate, with the Grand Winners team entering the competition in full remote mode from Thessaloniki and the Best Chatbot winning team being created in the preparation process of the Hackathon and co-working using only electronic tools, since one member was located in Patras and the other in Arta, Greece.

The event set the basis for the organization of other similar events in the area in a hybrid form from that point on.

Potential for learning or transfer

The most useful outcome of this effort is the fact that it provided new alternatives for organizing a co-creation event, in times when co-working in the same room was not for granted. The people working for the organization of the event gained a great deal of knowledge and experience in terms of remote cooperation and the potential of the available tools, and used this valuable experience to their work from that point on, both in OSIRIS project and elsewhere.

The difficulty coming from the measures implemented for coping with the pandemic actually created new opportunities, giving the ability to people from all of Greece to participate in the BOOST Hackathon, thus expanding the candidate participants’ pool and also the audience that could follow the activities of OSIRIS project.

This is the greatest lesson learned from the hybrid BOOST Hackathon: co-creation can exist and thrive with both in person and remote co-working. Opportunities that can expand its impact can appear through smart approach and adaptation, no matter how difficult the circumstances.

Further information

More information about the event can be found here: Event on Facebook