#DiploHack – a platform for new ideas

A hackathon that serves as a laboratory for promoting creative ideas and solutions on freedom of speech and sustainability is the latest attempt by the Swedish Embassy in London to develop new tools for public diplomacy with a digital angle.

The main aim behind the event #DiploHack, organised in close collaboration with the Netherlands Embassy at Hub Westminster, was to develop strong networks through creative collaboration between different communities. In this case diplomats, NGOs and developers.

MakeSense, a global community of social entrepreneurs and consultants, led the exercise, which started with presentations from five NGO:s: Swedish SKAP, Article 19, Global Partners Digital, CABI and Solidaridad.  The Swedish tech company Bambuser was also present in the room.

There were two questions that these networks focused on: How can creative collaboration in the arts enhance freedom of expression and tolerance around the world? And how can open data and technology improve sustainability in the food supply chain?

A lot of thinking about thinking in the various groups produced lots of creative ideas as well as interesting insights on the value of cross border collaboration.

I have rarely been in an environment where there has so much interest among professionals to learn and develop ideas together. The amount of post it notes, sketches, photos as well as notes posted on the walls at the Hub added to this feeling. An article in Wired summed up the event in a great way.

I am quite sure that in the future we will see more hackathons in many diverse fields. One area where it could be particularly interesting to do a future hackathon is on strategies for reconstructing wartorn economies and civil society. Such a hackathon could focus on key social problems that require urgent attention.


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