Become a RHoK Changemaker

 

Twice a year we run weekend–long hackathons in five different locations across Australia. Over the course of 48 hours teams assemble around our Changemakers (non-profit organisations & social entrepreneurs) to work fast and furious, have fun, and create real social impact. If you are a charity, community group, social enterprise or individual involved with a problem that that could benefit from short-term professional technical, creative or business management-related help and advice, then we may be able to help.

Martina Clark, CEO and Founder of  Carer's Couch  working with hackers at the 2017 Melbourne Summer Hackathon.

Martina Clark, CEO and Founder of Carer's Couch working with hackers at the 2017 Melbourne Summer Hackathon.

We are looking for ‘Goldilocks’ problems; they need to be small enough so that they can be progressed over a weekend, but large enough to make a real difference.
— Eddie Chapman, RHoK Community Manager
 

The Changemaker Journey

We value meaningful collaboration with organisations and volunteer hackers. Rather than providing software development as a service, we prefer to take our changemakers on a journey – from understanding business problems and technology barriers, to brainstorming with hackers, to co-developing solutions. Our hackathons are scheduled according to a 6–monthly cycle, and collaboration with changemakers begins roughly  8–weeks prior to the hackathon. During that period we also run a small number of lead-up events to ensure maximum benefit to changemakers and their organisations. 

What you get out of RHoK is a direct result of what you put in. Our most successful projects are the result of a lot of pre-work. Once we have accepted your application, we put you in touch with technologists, professionals and all-round superstars to help you really understand your problem and get an applicable tech solution.  

Remember... this is all done by volunteers; and thanks to the support of our National Partners you don't have to pay a cent!

The Application Process

Applying is easy! Just fill out the application form below, describing the challenge you're trying to solve. Our Steering Committee meets to consider whether the challenge is one we can help you with. Applications will be evaluated as they are received and we will aim to notify you within 2–4 weeks.

If your application is successful we will start working closely with you to make sure the scope of your problem is well defined, and to ensure that you get the most out of the hack weekend. The most successful projects are a collaboration between you the changemaker, and your team of talented hackers. During the hackathon weekend we will support this process and help you develop a solution to your problem.

 

After the Hackathon

After the hackathon we encourage changemakers to keep RHoLL-ing with their teams. While a lot can be achieved in a 48 hour hackathon, most changemakers have multiple problems that need solving. At RHoK Australia we believe in solutions that can make a significant impact and are sustainable in the long-term. We encourage our changemakers to keep working with their hacker teams, typically every six weeks or as needed, to continue working on individual projects. This is where the real nuts and bolts happen. At RHoK Australia we pride ourselves on finishing what we start, and this is something that sets us apart from other hackathons.

Why work with us?

We are widely acknowledged in Australia as one of the pioneers in this space. Since 2011 we've gathered over 500 hackers and helped over 100 organisations find tech enabled solutions to pressing social problems. We work with established organisations in the social sector, as well social entrepreneurs who are still in the early stage of their journey. Previous changemakers include ygap and SheStarts alumni.

Our unique combination of hackathons and smaller follow up events ensure that we get our solutions across the finish line and positively impact the wider community.

Past solutions include: brand new websites, redesigned websites, content management systems, data management systems, mobile apps, service design studies, user testing, contact forms, user surveys, streamlining existing workflows, and integrating new applications.

Now it's your turn to become part of the RHoK community.

 


 

What does a
hackathon look like?

Over the course of 48 hours, diverse teams of hackers assemble around our changemakers to work fast and furious, have fun, and create real social impact. It's an opportunity to work in a collaborative environment to help create innovative technology solutions to social problems. 

Changemaker FAQ

Answers to common questions

What if I don't meet the application requirements?

Reach out to us anyway – by email or application. We may be able to help you in other ways.

Where & When is the next hack?

We currently run hackathons in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.
Our Winter Hackathon are typically held late-May to late-June.
Our Summer Hackathons are typically held late-November to early-December.

Am I eligible?

Good question! Generally speaking, we are looking for charities, community groups and social enterprises who have a problem that can be solved with professional help. This could be technical, creative, business management or a mixture of these. In order to better understand your problem's eligibility to hack with RHoK, consider the following:

#1. Does your problem have a community impact?
At RHoK we strive to make the world a better place, one hack at a time. To do this, we look to hack solutions that have a positive impact on the environment and communities around us. This can be global or hyper-local as long as the social impact is clear and measurable. We find the RHoK model is most suited to organisations that are well established with the structure and resources to ensure that the solution developed during the hackathon can be carried forward beyond the weekend by the changemaker organisation.

#2. Are you a subject matter expert and able to own the solution?
Hackathons a great fun and can really produce great outcomes and solutions, but nobody enjoys hacking a solution that is destined to be thrown away or just left to gather dust (yes, even digital solutions can gather dust… metaphorically). Software is not just for Christmas.

#3. Are you open to being challenged?
When changemakers come to RHoK with an idea of what they are going to have by the end of it, they often walk away with something completely different. This is because at RHoK, hacking is a partnership between the changemakers and the hackers. Ideas are challenged and plans change rapidly based on timelines, expertise and different ways of thinking. It’s best to approach a RHoK Hackathon with an idea in mind, while being open to change. While you might think you need that brand new app, instead, there might be an existing solution that we could help you with!

#3. Are you willing to commit?
Hacking at RHoK is an intense, but rewarding experience which requires more than just one weekend of hacking. The most successful solutions come from a passionate and well prepared changemaker who best understands their problem, works closely with the hackers to produce a solution during the RHoK hackathon and those who are willing and able to continue to refine the solution with the hackers in the RHoLLs that follow.

What Makes a good changemaker?

  • A clear vision of what your problem is – not just what you think the solution might be!
  • Willingness to commit to the team that RHOK brings together, and share your enthusiasm and vision with them.
  • Ability to listen to the expertise that will surround you, willingness to learn, and be to open to potential solutions.
  • To be (or bring with you) the right people from your organisation to implement the solution that is developed.
  • Great connection with the users of your solution, and be able to get them involved too.

Do I need to attend the Changemaker 101 lead-up event?

Yes. Changemaker 101 will be critical to your success.

I've already collaborated with RHoK. Can I apply again?

Yes, we love to continue working with veteran changemakers to continue to work on their problem or start work on another one. Some of our most successful projects have been from return changemakers who are committed to solving their problem.