Open Hackdays 2020 – A Challenge Owner’s Experiences

Open Hackdays 2020 – A Challenge Owner’s Experiences

On November 27/28 2020, the 2nd edition of the Open Data Hackdays took place within the Covid-19's special context. Nevertheless, the event was very successful, as the experiences of challenge owner Nadja von Ballmoos show. In this blog, she takes you behind the scences and shares her experiences with you.

The Open Data Hackdays, an initiative of the MSc in Applied Information and Data Science at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in cooperation with, offers an unique platform for bringing together creative thinkers and makers from various industries with innovative companies. About a year ago, the Open Data Hackdays celebrated their very first hackathon in the Laboratorium Luzern. Now the event with the motto “Participation – Shape my City” was ready to start again, but nothing was like before: Covid-19 sent the Open Data Hackday directly into the home office and in a short time an online event had to be set up. Nevertheless, the final results are pretty impressive: innovative and runnable solutions have been created, which have received a lot of enthusiasm from the audience: Waouh! Wow! Wow! Wow! Great! Genius!

Nadja von Ballmoos, responsible for the advancement of digital communication in the Lucerne city administration and challenge owner of the Challenge “Quality of Life in the City of Lucerne“, participated in the online hackathon and looks back on an exciting event.

Hackdays: Nadja, how did you hear about the Open Data Hackdays and what motivated you to participate in the Hackathon?

Nadja: We already entered a challenge last year. The opportunity to benefit from the students’ knowledge during the Hackdays is very interesting for us. To gain such in-depth knowledge within two days – where else is that possible?

How did you come across the challenge idea and how did you concretise it?

I submitted results from a survey we did during an «Applied Research Project» with the HSLU. Already during the final presentation of the applied research project, it was clear to me that we could use the data beyond answering the research questions in this one particular project.

Details on the challenge Nadja handed in

What was particularly important to you in preparing the challenge idea and what challenges did you face? 

It was difficult for me to assess which focus the hackers should set in the evaluation of the survey results. It was therefore ideal to be involved in the process during the Hackdays. This way I was able to continually discuss the focus with the participants.

How did you experience the Open Data Hackdays?

I perceived the atmosphere as light-hearted but very goal-oriented and focussed. It was a great pleasure to be part of it.

What experiences have you had with the team that worked on your challenges? 

The hackers were very professional and proactively contributed good ideas. Many thanks again to the team!

Parts of the challenge solution

What is your general assessment of the online format? Were there any technical challenges?

I really liked the online format. I also learned about a new and interesting online tool:

How do you rate the challenge solutions at the Open Data Hackdays? 

I was enthused by the amount of knowledge. However, it was a pity that the solution presentations were rather superficial due to the short presentation time.

What will you do with the challenge solution? 

In any case, we will share the findings with other departments within the city administration. More concrete details have not yet been determined.

What is your conclusion for the Open Data Hackdays? 

Any time again with pleasure!

Challenge owner Nadja von Ballmoos from City of Lucerne

Will you be back for the Open Data Hackdays 2021?

If I have a suitable challenge question, definitely.

Many thanks to Nadja von Ballmoos for the interview!

Author: Sandra Odermatt, Student MSc in Applied Information and Data Science

Monday, 12 August 2024, online, English
Monday, 9 September 2024, online, German

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