We know that applying to our Hackathon can be a daunting experience, especially if you’re new to it. That’s why we’ve put together some frequently asked questions to help you understand what we mean by a prototype, who can apply, what kind of team you need and what civil tech solutions we can support. Check them out below!
1) What are civic tech solutions?
Civic tech is a relatively recent concept, that’s why it does not have a universally accepted definition yet. For the purpose of this Hackathon, we define a civic tech solution as an IT product for social good / impact that has all of the following characteristics:
- it addresses a societal challenge;
- it is a not-for-profit product;
- it is designed for and mainly used by citizens and/or civil society (in our case, in at least one EaP country);
- it requires coding;
- it has a strong ‘user-system’ interaction.
2) What do you mean by ‘prototype of a civic tech solution’?
A prototype is a first model – or even first release – of your civic tech solution. It may be mock-ups in Figma or any other front-end design app, a basic no-code prototype you put together with website or mobile app builders (e.g. Wix, Tilda, Weebly, WordPress, etc.), a working prototype hosted on your development server, or the first release of your product that you want to improve.
3) We have a prototype of a civic tech solution, but it is very basic.
No worries, your application is not assessed by the quality or readiness of your prototype. At the application stage, your prototype is to visualize and explain your civic tech solution.
4) May I apply with the prototype developed within a previous EaP Civil Society Hackathon?
Absolutely! The only exception are the winners of our previous hackathons.
5) I am the EaP Civil Society Fellow. Am I eligible to participate in the Hackathon?
Our Fellowship and Hackathon programmes are not mutually exclusive. So, if you have a prototype of a civic tech solution for the EaP countries and a team to help you at the Hackathon, we are thrilled to get your application!
6) Why do I need a team to participate in the Hackathon?
During the 4 weeks of the Hackathon, you will be working on improving / enhancing your prototype under the guidance of your mentor. Your mentor’s recommendations for improvements may vary from better targeting to concept revision, but in most cases, they will involve works on the product design and functionality, and you will need some help to implement those changes. While there will be IT professionals and designers joining the Hackathon individually, we cannot guarantee you will find an expert with the exact skills you need, or that he/she will be interested in your civic tech project (yes, life is unfair).
7) How many team members do I need to have?
There is no maximum limit for the number of team members, but as a minimum, a team shall consist of two persons, and at least one of the team members must have technical skills to make the required changes to the prototype, as agreed on with your mentor. This is what is described as ‘a minimum set of technical skills to work on the prototype enhancement’ in the Hackathon Guidelines.
8) I am hesitant to register for the Hackathon because my English is far from perfect.
No stress, the Hackathon is not an English language test, so you do not need to worry about making mistakes. Most of our mentors and us (the organisers) speak 2+ languages and are happy to help when needed. Only the formal meetings (the opening, first and final pitches and webinars) are held in English. When it comes to the teams’ work, you may decide within your team and with your mentor what language you will use for your internal communication.
9) I am an UI/UX designer (developer), and I am interested to join the hackathon. How do I know what team I will work with?
It’s your choice! We will start the Hackathon with an online introductory meeting, where the teams will pitch their civic tech solutions to you and the mentors. You can choose your team on the spot, or take up to 4 days, ask questions to the teams you liked (in Slack), and then decide what team you want to work with. Our Hackathon Coordinator will be around to help you, if needed.
10) I am very new to the profession (still learning) and have little experience, but I am eager to help other teams with their projects. May I still apply?
Definitely! The Hackathon is a good opportunity to get new connections and experience, and to try your skills. When working on the prototype enhancement, the teams will use the Agile methodology, i.e., the team members will identify the tasks for the next week (iteration) together, and you will be able to contribute where and with what you can.
11) What prototypes of civic solutions can participate in the Hackathon and compete for the Award?
First of all, please check p.6.2 ‘Eligibility of the ideas of digital solutions’ of the Hackathon Guidelines. In general, our Hackathon is focused on enhancing existing prototypes of civic tech solutions that address societal challenges in the EaP countries. So, your solution is expected to fall within one or several of the categories presented in the graph below: