Around 28,000 participants and almost 1,500 submissions.
The #WirVsVirus Hackathon was the largest Hackathon in the world
The #wirVsVirus Hackathon was the largest hackathon in the world with around 28,000 participants and almost 1,500 submissions. It was held under the patronage of the head of the Chancellor’s Office, Prof. Dr. Helge Braun, but numerous companies from the business world also supported the hackathon. The hackathon took place from 20 to 22 March 2020 and was initiated with the aim of finding solutions to problems that arose in times of crisis. As a result, truly amazing projects were created in 48 hours, including Colivery.
Challenge and approach
Supply of high risk groups – with a community based grocery delivery service.
Grocery shopping becomes a challenge
In times of crisis, even everyday tasks like grocery shopping become a challenge for older people and other at-risk groups. This includes basic foodstuffs, drugstore items, and over-the-counter medicines.
Through colivery, helpers can connect with people who need help with shopping. A community-based grocery delivery service with neighborhood help that includes an app and phone service. The idea for Colivery was developed by Aron Homberg, and the hackathon brought together more than 30 creative minds with great expertise in software development, design, law, and marketing to help this idea take off.
The entire collaboration ran through several Slack channels.
Designing a Brand guideline in a 48-hour sprint
I signed up via a public list after the official start of the hackathon. On that list, the Colivery team was specifically looking for a UX designer, which is what I originally applied for.
At the first Zoom meeting, we got to know each other and found out that the design team consisted of three people, Patricia Reiners from Berlin, Lukas Ponikowski from Munich, and me. We divided the tasks after evaluating who could contribute which skills. Since I was the most flexible designer due to my integrated approach, I ended up doing graphic design. Patricia took care of the user experience and Lukas was responsible for the website and some marketing.
The entire collaboration ran through several Slack channels. The first thing the programmers needed were colors, fonts, and a logo, so I started with that. In a meeting, I presented my variations, which were immediately loved. Once these basics were in place and the programmers could move on, I decided to work on a stylescape for guidance. I created this stylescape with a focused image of our target audience, the logo, colors, fonts, a key visual, and some photos for orientation. Later, we added Open Sans for the body text during prototyping. The stylescape was used to create the app, website, and project video.
Growing doubts about the feasibility of the concept
During the development of the stylescape and meetings, I put some thought into the project. The concept behind Colivery seemed increasingly half-baked and unrealistic to me. I don’t think there are enough people who install an app out of boredom, get shopping lists from others there, and then go shopping for those people without getting anything out of it themselves. That’s why I suggested testing the concept and also thinking about possible revenue streams. Don’t get me wrong, I am a friend of OpenSource and of helping, but I don’t understand why so many people think that „good deeds“ can only be done for free.
My concept idea
My concept proposal was to categorize purchases by store, not by person. The desired items are then matched to the shops and sent via push notification to people who are already in the area of the store or even shopping there at the moment. This reduces the inhibition threshold to go shopping in the first place. Once accepted, the app calculates the best route to deliver the purchases on the way home/destination. If the product is successfully delivered, the person receives a reward from the person they shopped for. In a meeting, my concept proposal was only moderately well-received because the programming of the app was already in progress and the end of the hackathon was near. The discussion should therefore be postponed until after the hackathon and discussed with the people who would be staying on.
Colivery was awarded as one of the 20 best projects and winners of the hackathon.
The first digital woodstock event
Colivery was awarded as one of the 20 best projects and winners of the hackathon. But there was also some criticism of the selection. The original „Hackathon“ format was developed for competitions in coding. Due to the mass of projects, the graphic implementation and the design of the project videos became more important, in order to stand out from the crowd and leave a professional impression for further sponsorship. I think this was also true for the Colivery project and I contributed to the win with the branding. Of course, I was happy about it, but I am also a bit critical of the concept behind Colivery. But since the app programming was already in progress and the end of the hackathon was near, we couldn’t continue with my proposal. All in all, it was a great experience to be part of the Hackathon. It’s incredible how 48 hours can change the mood and the view on new ways of working. I totally agree with the public opinion that this hackathon was a kind of digital Woodstock festival.