Looking ahead to Hack the North 4.0 taking place 21 – 22 November, I wanted to reflect back on what I enjoyed about Hack the North 3.0 and why you should sign up!
The first time I went, I knew I’d found my people. 2 days; and a room full of passion, enthusiasm and a willingness to try something new to fix a problem.
Hack the North 3 – putting health and wellbeing at the heart
The theme for my first DWP hack was connecting digital health services, which was something close to my heart, having previously worked in NHS Digital urgent and emergency care. So imagine my delight when I got the opportunity, not only to go to my first DWP Digital hack event, but to co-host it too – my excitement levels were off the charts.
Not only did I get to work with talented, creative minds, but I got to meet lots of new and inspiring people as well as catch up with familiar faces. One of the new faces was James Parker, who was my engaging co-host for the weekend. James and I had great fun supporting the teams, coaching through some tricky group decisions, and facilitating some excellent talks.
Some of those talks came from our sponsors; James Osgood from MongoDB, Saul Cozens from dxw and Amul Batra from Northcoders. All 3 helped frame the hack before the start. We also had a scene-setting talk from DWP Jobcentre Plus colleagues that helped attendees understand the environment they would be trying to solve problems for.
I enjoyed watching ideas develop from Friday afternoon and being refined at multiple stages throughout the weekend. I was also most impressed to see teams out and about doing user research with real people in the city. It was real user-led design and agile on a micro-scale, as they used their findings to identify where they needed to change direction from their initial ideas and assumptions.
A flexible inclusive workspace
Having crèche facilities at the event was an excellent way to address barriers to attending for people with young children – I particularly loved seeing the husband and wife who attended with their young son, working and enjoying the weekend together.
The dedication shown by the hack teams was truly inspiring – some teams stayed until after midnight on the Friday and some were back in for a 5am start on the Saturday, testament to how much everyone enjoyed it just as much as me!
I loved my first DWP Digital hack. It’s such a great opportunity to engage with the local digital community. Hack the North 4.0 is all about financial inclusion. Together we can tackle problems faced by people on a daily basis, share our knowledge and expertise to help address them, and have fun in the process. Come along and try something new.