• Hack Integration in Copenhagen

    by  • November 18, 2016 • Local events, News

    A summary of Hack Integration

    Hack Integration is the first of 2 hackathons hosted by OpenDataLab Copenhagen as part of the Open4Citizens project. The overall ambition of the project is to investigate the potential for new and improved welfare services by exploring the gap between open data and citizens’ ability to use open data as a resource.

    In Denmark, the aim of the first hackathon was to explore how open data might work as a resource in service innovation aimed at improving the integration of Newcomers to Denmark.

    A diverse mix of engaged participants in a great venue

    Between October 7-9th we borrowed the great venue of the HumLab on the 5ft floor of Aalborg University – Copenhagen. Overall, 28 participants brought a diverse set of skills and curiosity to the mix – across asylum seekers, journalists, photographers and students (representing service systems design, techno-anthropology, global refugee studies, DTU and the IT University of Copenhagen).

    skills the participants brought in

    Participatory methods & platform testing

    Led by Antropologerne, the O4C Consortium partners have developed a ‘starter kit’; a collection of methods that support citizens’ ability to make creative sense of open data. Throughout the weekend we facilitated the teams through this process – from initial ideation to conceptual solutions demonstrated through prototypes:

    • Inspiration and discussion: Defining what need to address
    • Brainstorming and prioritisation of ideas
    • Platform and data exploration
    • Fast and Furious prototype sessions + deep digital prototype building
    • Pitch


    Agenda for the weekend:

    DAY 1 – Inspiration and Brainstorming

    To kick-off the event we had invited several inspirational speakers to articulate pertinent challenges and problems – openings for improved services based on data.

    The Grassroots movement of ‘friendly-dwellers’: Venligboerne reminded us how the big differences can be made in the everyday lives of many people – through social media.

    “We’re social activists hacking the social rules!”
    – Zaki Abarra, Venligboerne

    The Association New Dane (Foreningen Nydansker) invited proposals to support better integration in Danish companies.

    “We need to become better at integrating immigrants into working life”
    – Torben Møller-Hansen, Foreningen Nydansker

    Open Knowledge Foundation Denmark enlightened us on the importance of finding alternative stories based on data and data analysis.

    “Turning data into knowledge means making open data useful”, and
    “data sets are  political; they shape our world view”
    – Niels Erik Kaaber Rasmussen, Open Knowledge Foundation DK

    Asylum seeker and representative from the Red Cross initiative New Times shared a few glimpses of the challenges met in her encounter with Denmark: 

    “Freedom is a balance between duty and rights”
    Marion Chen, New Times/Asylum seeker

    The festive launch evening invited networking, delicious food and initial team acquaintance – as well as agreements on team-names and focus areas.

    Maintaining a lively atmosphere we energized with playful exercises and delicious food from the social economic enterprise Send Flere Krydderier.


    Day 2 – Prototyping and Data exploration

    The second day was the long intense day of prioritising ideas and exploring how data might help address the qualitative needs and challenges on the integration arena. 

    The platform OpenDataLab.eu was introduced and explored. Introductions was given to the crowdsourcing initiative Mapillary, illustrating how it’s possible to create data by engaging the crowd. An open data curious citizen and spare time app developer spontaneously shared the obstacles he encountered developing open data based apps (e.g. for finding playgrounds and monuments).

    As teams intensely brainstormed and developed prototypes, OpenStreetMap idealist Søren Johannesen gave input and ‘hangaround support’ along with data-wizz and hackathon experienced Morten Fuglsang.

    Day 3 – Tweaking concepts and finale pitching

    During the course of the hackathon weekend the participants kept the same level of enthusiasm and commitment for the main topic, which they found to be very relevant. They approached open data and integration from different perspectives, and on the 9th of October they pitched 6 ideas – and was given feedback from both the crowd and an exciting feedback panel.

    Outcomes and results 

    • 6 pitches addressing the needs expressed in the inspiration session:
    • E-learning platforms for job-creation, private host-family opportunities, Sports centered bridge-building apps, mentor-networking, and a community-based translation application
    • Excited participants and teams eager to follow-up in follow-up process post-hack 
    • Continued support and networking from speakers across varied expertise and interests
    • New friendships and ignition of new potential collaboration
    • A common ground for students, asylum seekers, NGO’s and open knowledge enthusiasts

    The 6 concepts pitched:

    New connections, skills & greater data curiosity

    The atmosphere maintained a high level of playfulness, openness and curiosity. Overall the participants were very satisfied with the experience of joining Hack Integration. Several highlighted how they did acquire both new skills, a greater curiosity towards data and new valuable connections.


    “I believe it will be cool to create a dataset with important translations and cultural interpretations.”

    “It was super productive, energizing and a great experience overall!”
    – Lizette

    “Interesting topic that is quite important and requires more attention.”
    – Nikolai

    “Gained a practical insight into using data/open data for various purposes.”
    – Silas

    “I learned something I didn’t know before.”
    – Marion

    To learn more: