The first time I heard about the 1001Vienna – a Storytelling Hackathon for Social Impact was early one Friday morning in February.
It was for a Creative Mornings lectures and it was the first time I set foot in the Impact Hub Vienna. Despite being only half awake, I immediately felt the energy of the place and was intrigued by the people there.
When I heard that the Hackathon would accept 40 creatives from across Europe for a weekend workshop, I was eager to apply even though I wasn’t quite sure what a ‘Storytelling Hackathon’ actually was. I guess eagerness doesn’t always lead to action, because the next thing I knew, the day of the deadline had arrived and I hadn’t sent anything in yet. Quickly, I filled out the online form, hoping for the best and wishing I wasn’t such a procrastinator.
I was excited to find out a week later that I had been accepted, and when I arrived at the Hub, I found that everyone I spoke to had applied the day of the deadline. Are all creatives prone to procrastination? This weekend there would be no time to waste.
With only 48 hours to complete our task of helping seven impact ventures communicate their stories, we would need to brainstorm and execute our ideas quickly and efficiently.
It all started on Friday night, when we were assigned to our groups and Saturday morning the real work would begin.
I was assigned to work with Investment Ready, a program that helps entrepreneurs from central and eastern Europe create scalable solutions for global programs. I was inspired by the work they were doing. However with such a broad target group, it was challenging to convey the work Investment Ready was doing in a succinct and personable way. It was up to me and the others in my group to find a solution.
We all know that group projects are not always easy…
Recently a friend of mine sent me a cartoon that read, “When I die, I want my group project members to lower me into the grave… so they can let me down, one last time.” Slightly morbid, I know, but I couldn’t help but laugh as I recalled the many group project experiences of my academic and professional career. I’m happy to say that my Hackathon team took group project work to a new level. The Investment Ready Program group was an international dream team coming from Russia, Czech Republic, Germany, the US and Austria. We had a film maker, a creative director, a web designer, a graphic designer, and a journalist. Everyone was totally engaged and ready to do their best work.
Countless brainstorming sessions, discussions, and cups of coffee later, the first day was over.
And we still had nothing! Ok, not ‘nothing.’ We had plenty of ideas, but had yet to create any concrete outputs. The pressure was on and day two was going to be hard.
Fast forward to Sunday afternoon and we were wrapping up our video shoot. Who knew we were all such great actors? Well, maybe we won’t be winning any Oscars soon, but we certainly enjoyed ourselves. In the end we managed to create and finish all of our deliverables in the final three hours leading up to the deadline.
When time was up, we went straight into the showcase. Positive energy seemed to surge throughout the building as each group presented the amazingly creative, funny, beautiful and clever solutions they had created to solve their start-up’s communication problem. As I watched the presentations from the other groups, I realized that all of the teams were international dream teams! Creating websites, videos, print and photography campaigns, each group had produced an incredible amount of outputs given the intensive 48 hour deadline. Overall, the weekend was an amazing experience for me. I have never met so many engaged, passionate, creative and hardworking people in one place.