Random Hacks of Kindness Toronto

Commons11 runs a Toronto-based Pitch Night and Idea Jam as a precursor to Random Hacks of Kindness, a global hackathon for humanitarian aid. Random Hacks of Kindness, or RHoK, is an event that runs simultaneously in many cities across the world. It is a global community of innovators that use open source technology for humanitarian solutions.

In order to ensure that the most ‘workable’ ideas make it through to RHoK Toronto, we facilitate a Pitch Night for people to propose challenges to work on, so they can be matched to a solution and team. The subsequent Idea Jam is an opportunity to ensure that the problem challenges that were pitched are defined and refined before being worked on at the hackathon itself. Commons11 has thereby been able to set a new global standard for developing technical, data and subject matter requirements for challenges submitted to Random Hacks of Kindness. Additionally, we support RHoK Toronto by encouraging a greater focus on the sustainability of the projects that emerge from the hackathon, such as through financial and human resources, but also by recording current and emerging success stories, and focusing on what makes them successful.

Toronto is a leading example for the global RHoK community, and the third-largest community globally. So far, RHoK Toronto has created 35 mobile and web applications for humanitarian aid.   



Commons11 supports RHoK Toronto projects and teams to get a head start on problem definitions, by helping teams to discover (and uncover) the challenge at hand, and invite the right people to the table to collaborate on solutions. These are not only people who are programmers and coders, but also – and importantly – subject matter experts, designers,  engineers, web experts, and project managers. By running a Pitch Night and Idea Jam, we are enabling teams to hit the ground running at RHoK itself, spending less time on project planning, while making sure the right resources are in place before starting. This leads to a more developed prototype, and a more polished solution. In this way, Commons11 initiates the process of matching problem challenges to project team members and technology solutions.

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