UnHackathon #1: The SF Taxi & Communication Challenge (SOLD OUT)

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Date(s) - Friday, February 24, 2012 - Saturday, February 25, 2012
All Day

California College of the Arts

Calling all designers, sofware engineers, business strategists and other clever problem solvers who love big challenges (and cash prizes!)

Join the City of San Francisco, California College of the Arts and Mix & Stir Studio for 24 hours of intensive fun while inventing design-driven technology solutions to real world problems. We provide the challenges and interesting data; you collaborate with other smart creative people to find the solutions.

Unhackathon #1 is focused on making life in SF a little better:

  • Taxi! At any time, 50% of the cabs in SF sit empty. They cluster in key areas of the city, even though they’re needed in other places. Central dispatch hasn’t worked nor has the current “free market” approach. How can we take advantage of today’s technology and create a solution to distribute taxis throughout the city, where and when they are needed, so everyone benefits?
  • Mass Communication - the City of SF needs to communicate in real time with its citizens on a number of topics ranging from delays to disasters. How can we create a digital system to connect the City with all its constituents efficiently, effectively and affordably?

As a participant, you get:

  • Access to non-public data from real users
  • Access to wicked smart mentors, designers and engineers eager to help you
  • An opportunity to invent a working, technology-based solution with a global market
  • A community of like-minded, talented people eager to collaborate on a workable solution
  • A very cool design studio setting equipped with large whiteboards, displays, net connections and plenty of power outlets
  • Three full meals and two great parties
  • Cash prizes and a chance to change SF for the better



Winning Teams Present at City Hall

On March 26, 2012,  at San Francisco’s City Hall, the winning teams from ‘UnHackathon 1: The Taxi & Communications Challenge’ presented their concepts to city officials from SFMTA, the Department of Public Works, and the Mayor’s Innovation Team, as well as City Supervisor, Scott Wiener.

The City is not only considering the winning teams solutions, but they are integrating concepts from the other UnHackathon teams as well and they are actively looking to improve transportation around SF with these ideas. We’ll follow the projects as they move forward.

But it wasn’t just about the winning teams. Here are is some feedback from participants, advisors and representatives from the City of San Francisco.

“Congratulations teams ‘My SF’ and ‘Track SF’!! And to everyone at the event for their great work!”

“Hope to see you April 6-7!”    ”Surprisingly satisfying”    ”A feel good day!”    ”Exceeded our expectations”

But sometimes photos speak more loudly than words:

IMG_2781 IMG_2765 IMG_1975 IMG_1974 IMG_1978IMG_2014IMG_2018IMG_2765IMG_2778IMG_2791IMG_2796

Parking Info:

Street parking is available and free around the CCA campus, but sometimes takes a few minutes to find as there are several popular restuarants nearby. The area is safe to walk at night.

Event Registration:

Our registration table will be in front of the Security office just inside the main entrance. Your name badge will be waiting for you along with a packet of information to help you navigate the space and the event.










Can we sign up as a team? Yes, buy your tickets separately and at the opening mixer sign up as a team.

Can I come alone and still work on a team?  Yes, meet people at the mixer. Let them know your skill set. Find people you like and sign up as a team.

Can I work alone? We suppose, but isn’t that a little lonely?

What’s the agenda like? On Friday, we’ll feed you dinner, then feed you rich real information on the city’s two problems delivered in a panel discussion. After the panel, we’ll host a mixer so you can meet potential team mates and talk to the city experts and other panel members. Sat. morning we’ll provide breakfast, a productive workspace for your team and “clinics” staffed by top design, tech and business experts to answer questions and offer guidance. We’ll provide lunch and snacks throughout the day as you work to develop and visualize your solution. Around 5pm, judges will visit teams to hear their pitch and see their work. We’ll provide dinner and an awards ceremony at 9pm. After that, it’s closing party with music, socializing, pats on the back and thank you’s all around.

What kind of output is expected in 24 hours? A feasible, viable concept that passes the “sniff test” from a technical, business and design perspective.

I can’t draw. Are bullet points ok? Nope. We need visuals. Find a graphic designer or illustrator at the mixer and get them on your team.

Who owns the IP from this? Everything is open source. If your team comes up with a killer idea, there are thousands of cities around the world who have these exact problems. Run with it.

Did you say cash prizes? Yes, we did. The amount depends on how many signups we get and how many sponsors. We’re hoping for “lots.” Current sponsors include ESRI, Hot Studio and the Designer Fund.