Featured image: from left to right, Beijuan Miao, Raven Smith, and Drew Stone represented Communication Leadership in the first 2015 Seattle Interactive Conference Design Swarm. For full coverage of SIC, see our recaps of day one and day two. Photo by Danny Gross.
Earlier this month, on November 2, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray declared a state of emergency in the city of Seattle. It wasn’t because a massive tidal wave had swept away half the city, or because wildfires had ravaged whole neighborhoods, or any other natural disaster that commonly elicits a state-of-emergency declaration.
It was because of an issue that is much more difficult to pin down, let alone solve. Murray had declared war on the city’s homelessness problem, bringing a social issue that is often swept under the proverbial rug into plain, agonizing sight.
The day after Murray’s announcement, Seattle Interactive Conference began. Bringing together the brightest minds from a variety of fields, SIC is one of the preeminent technology conferences in the Northwest.
This year, the SIC organizers chose to add a hackathon to the conference. Hackathons are collaborative challenges where teams compete to solve a given problem or demonstrate innovative use of technology under a tight time constraint. Typical hackathons are focused mostly on technology, and some require participants to develop and present a working prototype.
This year’s Design Swarm encouraged people to form teams to apply their design skills to tackle homelessness, exploring whether the speed-prototyping and designing mentality that’s become lauded in tech circles could be successfully used to solve this human crisis. This is not the first time that the hackathon mentality has been applied to social issues: earlier this year, the City of Seattle used a hackathon, Hack the Commute, in an effort to come up with a better transportation solution for Seattle’s commuters.
All photos by Danny Gross
Over two days, teams worked tirelessly to brainstorm, prototype and then pitch their ideas on how to alleviate the homelessness crisis in Seattle. Beijuan Miao, Raven Kelly and Drew Stone represented Communication Leadership in the event, making it to the final rounds of the Swarm and eventually winning second place. The winning idea came from POP, a Seattle-based digital strategy firm, whose idea centered around creating a system to allow the homeless to digitize personal identity documents.
For those who couldn’t attend SIC or missed out on the Design Swarm, Comm Lead Associate Director Scott Macklin produced a video recap of the entire event. You can watch the short video on Swarm here:
Or the full version below:
The Seattle Interactive Creative Swarm was held to specifically benefit Mary’s Place, a Seattle homeless shelter. To learn more about Mary’s Place or to get involved, visit their website. For full coverage of SIC, see our recaps of day one and day two.