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8 Ways to Hack Healthcare Ethically

By | Hack4Health | No Comments

According to a recent World Economic Forum Mental Health and Tech Report, mental health disorders are among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide and could cost the global economy around $16 trillion by 2030. That’s TRILLION.

Globally, death by suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people – and was one of the core topics that we investigated in our Hack4MentalHealth in 2018. And while some great solutions were developed, it’s clear that we are a long way from stemming this challenging tide.

One of the great surprises – and delights of the Hack4MentalHealth was the development of powerful tech solutions. Built in close consultation with mental health experts and individuals with lived experience, we saw artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions, cloud-based deep learning platforms that connected chatbot engines to mental health experts, and data-driven prototypes with ambitions to change the face of mental health for young people.

As we prepare for our upcoming Hack4Health, we know that mental health is top of the priority list for young people. We also know that our community of hackers, hipsters, hustlers and humanitarians are keen to apply their expertise to these massive challenges.

With this in mind, this recent World Economic Forum report on Mental Health and Technology provides a great framework for the development of ethical technology. They outline eight actions – many of which are fundamental to our Hacks4Impact approach:

  1. Create a governance structure – build ethics into the heart of your data collection, analysis and distribution architecture
  2. Develop regulation – balance human rights and innovation
  3. Responsible practices – incorporate lived experience into the development process
  4. Test and then learn – continually test and learn from your users
  5. Consent at scale – work with communities and obtain their consent
  6. Measure impact – connect your test and learn approach to a measurement framework
  7. Build sustainably – don’t build a walled garden – leverage open tech and platforms where possible
  8. Be generous – prioritise low income and disadvantaged communities.

You can read the full report here.

You can put your ideas into action by joining us for Hack4Health in September. It’s your chance to impact the future of health.

If your organisation is interested in sponsoring a challenge area at the Hack4Health, please leave a comment below.

Share your vision for the federal election – join us for electionWIRE 2019

By | electionWIRE, The Feed | No Comments

When the postal survey on legalising same-sex marriage was announced, an extra 90,000 Australians registered to vote. And the upcoming 2019 election has seen the highest ever enrolment rate ever – 96.8%.

With 1.69 million of the 16.4 million Australians now registered, issues affecting young people should be high on the agenda. After all, we represent just over 10% of voters.

And yet, when we look at the policies, the way they are being pitched, and the focus of spending and programs – there’s little focus on the needs and aspirations of young people. Or is there?

What would YOU like to see in the big picture of your future?

Join us for #electionWIRE on Twitter

Rather than just hearing what the political parties want to tell us, we want to hear your perspectives:

  • What’s important for you in the election?
  • What are your frustrations?
  • What do you want to see change?

Hosted by comedian, film-maker and rabble-rouser, Dan Ilic, you can join us on Twitter, following the hashtag #electionWIRE:

Where: Twitter
When: 6pm AEST
Who to follow: @Vibewire @DanIlic

We are creating a list of topics – but we’d love to hear from you. We’ve got:

  • Climate change
  • Housing affordability
  • New Start
  • Homelessness
  • Mental health

But if you have a topic you’d like to discuss, leave a comment below. Or just turn up on Thursday night and share your perspectives on #electionWIRE.

How to Pitch Your Idea

By | Hack4Homelessness, Hackathing, SkillsGym | No Comments

You could have the most amazing product or idea that a hackathon has ever seen, but if you don’t use your pitch presentation effectively no one is going to take notice.

In this series of videos Nancy Duarte explains the importance of presentations and using them effectively when it comes to pitching an idea or product. Nancy Duarte is a communication expert who has been featured in a number of respectable publications as well as having written five best-selling books of her own. Her firm is a global leader in visual messaging surrounding business and culture. She’s a ‘persuasion expert’ that manages to weave storytelling and story patterns into business communications.

In these videos Nancy Duarte gets right to the heart of what will make our presentations better when we start to work on our pitches.

  • Don’t get creative before you understand your idea – Putting together your presentation is creatively telling your story in a linear fashion. If you start to put your idea into a pitch presentation before you fully understand it, it becomes so much easier to miss out on thinking about the finer details. You need to make sure you understand your idea in its messiest form before you can make it look pretty.
  • A great pitch doesn’t start with ‘Save As’ – It’s super easy to open up an old pitch deck or presentation and then work your new idea into these old slides, but it isn’t going to be effective. Each new idea will have its own story, its own audience, and your presentation should represent that. Start fresh with a new presentation, give your idea that respect and originality it deserves.
  • Are you spending too much time on your presentation? – Obviously having a presentation to accompany your pitch is important, but how much time is too much time when it comes to making your slides? It’s all about proportion as Duarte suggests. The presentation should be proportionate to what is at stake. If you spend the whole hackathon perfecting your presentation you run the risk of not delving deep enough into your idea, the challenges, or any number of things.

These are all great things to remember as our #Hack4Homelessness draws closer. Are you going to remember these things and incorporate them into your pitch?

Register for the hackathon here.

Youth Homelessness is Getting Worse, Not Better

By | Hack4Homelessness, Hackathing, The Feed | No Comments

Despite the millions that have been invested in tackling homelessness, challenges remain. In fact, there seems to be more ways to be homeless than every before:

  • We live in overcrowded housing, sharing rooms with extended families and even strangers
  • We avoid the dangers of rough sleeping by couchsurfing and staying with friends a few nights at a time
  • We huddle in boarding houses and supported accommodation when we can find a place
  • We sleep rough.

Imagining a different future for young people

Imagine for a moment what it is like to do this. Think of the stress and anxiety that comes with not having a safe place to rest at the end of the day.

And then imagine that you are a young person.

The simple fact is that youth homelessness is rising. The CHP fact sheet reveals that youth homelessness has increased 26% from 2006-2016. And more recent figures confirm this worrying trend.

The thing about homelessness is that it often combines other challenges. For example, if you are homeless, it’s likely that you have experienced family and domestic violence, have (or will develop) mental health issues and experience financial exclusion and poverty. These create the conditions for a difficult downwards spiral that well-supported adults struggle to deal with. A young person may never find their way to a more stable future.

Think about the young people in your life. Think about the young people you pass in the street. Help us imagine a different future for them.

What you can do

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Vibewire was established with the belief that young people should create, not inherit the future. And our Hacks4Impact are designed to put power, choice and decision making into the hands (and minds) of young people. In April 2019, we are calling on the hackers, hipsters, hustlers and humanitarians to help us develop new solutions to homelessness. We know that what we have on offer are not working – and we need to start somewhere. That somewhere is the MnM Institute on 5-7 April. Join us we make a difference.

Two Ways to Make NSW a Better Place for Young People

By | Hack4Homelessness, Hackathing | No Comments

Over 9000 young people experience homelessness in New South Wales.

In 2017, we ran our first social impact hackathon – on homelessness. We brought together a range of partners, peak bodies and companies and connected them with young creatives and entrepreneurs from the Vibewire community. We had great mentors from, Jewish House, NSW Council of Social Service, SGCH, QBE Insurance, Minerva Collective and Exodus Foundation.

People with the lived experience of homelessness shared their stories, our hackers, hipsters, hustlers and humanitarians “hacked” solutions.

Two years later and we’re still seeing the same or similar challenges. And the problem seems to be getting worse. Youth homelessness has increased at a rate of 92% since 2006.

What we learned through the hackathon process was that homelessness disproportionately impacts young people. And because it impacts early, it changes their future.

Yfoundations are running a petition in the leadup to the 2019 state election. They have a simple ask – make NSW a better place for young people. Sign up and share your concerns.And if you want to go a step further – put your passions, skills and experience to good use and join us for our Hack4Homelessness in April 5-7. We’d love to see you there.

Hack4Homelessness 2017 Report

By | Hack4Homelessness, Hackathing, Social Impact, The Feed | No Comments

“We may not solve homelessness for all, we may never see a day where homelessness is a just a rough patch in our country’s history … if we can work together to exit one person at a time from homelessness, that’ll be just as fulfilling as if we solved it for all, because in that person’s world, we did solve homelessness.”
— Maddie Wacher, Link Housing

Maddie Wacher from Link Housing perfectly captured the focus and attention of the 80-plus participants at Vibewire’s social impact hackathon – Hack4Homelessness. Run over the weekend of 15-17 September 2017, it brought together a broad range of participants from across the community.

Inspired by deeply personal stories of those who have lived experience of homelessness, shared over the course of the weekend, teams formed, friendships were forged and new businesses were created.

There were community supporters and collaborators from Jewish House, the Exodus FoundationSGCH, NSW Council of Social Service and New Horizons.

As well as real estate property portal, Domain Group, who provided mentors, data and expertise to help teams understand technology and data in completely new ways.

Check out the full Hack4homelessness event report here on slideshare.

The CareConnect Team Win #Hack4Homelessness

By | Hack4Homelessness, Hackathing, Social Impact, The Feed | No Comments

Can there really only be one winner in a social impact hackathon? Over 80 people worked tirelessly over the weekend to hack together solutions to social, technological and behavioural challenges of homelessness – presenting 9 solutions to the judging panel. We were fortunate to have Ricky and Lawrence – regulars at Martin Place – join us to share their insight and personal journeys.

All of the solutions were of an amazing quality – and with only three prizes, the judges work was cut out for them. After almost 30 minutes of discussion and debate, the decision was made:

  • 1st Prize – CareConnect a solution creating a centralised booking system for unused capacity in accommodation
  • 2nd Prize – Doti a solution matching young people, at risk of homelessness, with a community of aunties and uncles
  • 3rd Prize – shared between Good Mates and Blend.Co.

We’ll have videos and photos available soon – but in the meantime, enjoy our Facebook feed for the event.

Hacking Data to Solve Social Challenges

By | Hack4Homelessness, Hackathing, Social Impact, The Feed | No Comments

They say that “data is the new oil” – that it is becoming the world’s most valuable resource. For years, policy makers have been capturing data and using it to make decisions – that’s the concept behind the Census. More recently, businesses and social networks have been using data to make organisational and marketing decisions – changing their supply chains, investment plans and sales strategies.

But what if we could use data to solve social problems?

Back in July, when we were first planning Vibewire’s #Hack4Homelessness – a new and creative attempt to solve the social, technical, cultural and behavioural challenges of homelessness, we knew we would need data. Having run dozens of hackathons and innovation programs for large enterprise clients over the last few years, we knew that data wasn’t just an option. It was THE oil that makes the difference between a good idea and an amazing solution.

So when the Minerva Collective came on board as a partner, we were very excited. It is clear that homelessness is an intractable problem – programs have been developed and resources created. People work tirelessly to solve it. And yet, it persists. We need a different approach.

Last week, the Minerva Collective assembled over 60 data scientists at Stone & Chalk to explore how data may be able to be used to create new solutions to homelessness. Breaking into “swarm” groups they were able to draw upon the public data sets that we found and were able to access. They were also able to register for access to the new Domain Group APIs to find data about agencies and listings, content from the Domain Group editorial team and properties and their locations.

Out of this “swarm”, the data scientists some great ideas to help the the solving teams during the hackathon. These include the following:


We were told that it takes several years for a homeless person to get affordable housing and therefore off the waiting list. One idea that came to mind (but might not be feasible) is to make use of available (and under-used) living spaces rather than waiting for more apartments to be built. I was thinking of matching up elderly people living in big houses/apartments with homeless people who are willing to work and get free accommodation in return.

I can imagine that there are many elderly people in the Sydney area who’d rather stay in their own home rather than moving into an old age village. However, they are often lonely and need help around the house. This is where homeless people could come in. An app could be built that matches up profiles of homeless people with elderly people. This whole process would of course have to be monitored (as many homeless people deal with mental illness). Also, this would most likely only provide short-term accommodation, but gives the homeless people more time to focus on finding a job without having to live on the street.


One member in our group mentioned that it is difficult to reach homeless people and that they are often not aware which documents are needed to be added to the list to get affordable housing. Maybe an app for homeless people could be built with all the important information available. This could consist of check-lists of forms needed, GPS locations of food-trucks, and lists of help services available for the homeless.


Our concept is already made progress. At Refugees Welcome we aim to connect people seeking asylum or people of refugee backgrounds to homes with spare rooms, so that it is a more affordable (or sometimes free) living arrangement where they can have a sense of belonging, be treated with dignity and feel safe.  We currently are doing a lot of this work manually ourselves but envision technology to play a bit part of the screening and filtering process.


  1. Housing theme :
  • Consider how to provide a fixed address, for people to maintain their ids.  (i.e fore Work with Services &  AusPost to ensure that a place is available to receive and collect mail.
  • A co-op body with access to rental properties and allow for price control rental (i.e. Similar to Defence Housing Co-op).
  1. Community theme:
  • Access to unused land for a community garden to grow and farm to address issues of access to fresh and healthy food services and the potential to provide employment.
  • Consider the issue of Youth without a place to call “Home”, young people with no permanent place to call home during critical education period Year 10 to HSC. These are young people not yet sleeping rough, but a moving from home to home. How are these young people identified and what can be done to prevent permanent homelessness.
  1. Identification theme:
  • Consider tackling how people could maintain a 100 pts check with no fixed address to allow access to services such as bank account, apply for a private rental.
  1. Data Unification Theme:
  • We propose a close look at how to bring the various data sources together to give a complete and holistic picture of homelessness, to allow research and policy maker to map, identify, understand & take action to prevent or circumvent homelessness.
  • A visualization of the various issues related to homelessness to be highlighted these infographics/data visualization could be made available various agencies or peak body to use to highlight homelessness

We are looking forward to seeing how the hackers, hipsters, hustlers and humanitarians at the hackathon bring this all together. Be sure to follow along with the #hack4homelessness hashtag during the event.


Gavin Heaton is the founder of the Disruptor’s Handbook, the strategy and innovation firm that helps enterprises shift mindset, innovate products, and transform their organisation. He is also voluntary President of Vibewire.

How to Hustle at a Hackathon

By | Hack4Homelessness, Hackathing, The Feed | No Comments

They say that every startup needs a hacker, a hipster and a hustler. The hacker to build your technology. The hipster to make that great tech shine. And a hustler to package up and sell it. For our upcoming #Hack4Homelessness hackathon, we also need the fourth “H” – the humanitarian. It’s a vital role within any social enterprise.

At almost every event we have run, seen or participated in, these core roles are on display in the hackathon teams that win.

But even if you don’t have the confidence of the hustler, there are some ways that you can really make a hackathon work for you – and it’s not only about winning the pitch session.

Here are some tactics you can use to put your best foot forward:

  1. Solve the problem: At the heart of every hackathon is (or should be) a clear problem. Use the Disruptor’s Handbook’s Problems Worth Solving handbook to question the organisers, mentors and subject matter experts to drill down into the heart of the problem and then work to solve it with their help. (Note: One hackathon super power that you should develop is collaboration. Ask for help. Leverage expertise. Take every offer available.)
  2. Make mentors your friends: A good hackathon will have the support of respected industry mentors. These people give up their time and lend their expertise to help you make the most of your hackathon experience. Listen to them like you would an old friend. Remember, that beyond the intensity of the weekend, these are people who can help bring your idea to life. Impress them with your willingness to learn and creative approach to implementation.
  3. Ask for help: It’s amazing how often a hackathon team can close down during an event. The combined pressures of a fixed timeline and public scrutiny can challenge the most confident hacker. As soon as you hit a road block, find a way around it. Tap the mentors. Ask for insights from subject matter experts. Chat to other teams (you might be surprised how collegiate a competition can be). But don’t go around in circles – the hackathon spiral of death can be fatal to your team’s chances.
  4. Divide and conquer: You each have your roles and responsibilities. Get on with it. Let the hustler hustle, the hacker hack, and the hipster stroke his funky beard.
  5. Seek out the best opportunity: Hackathons are fertile grounds for networking. That’s where you put your best foot forward. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date. Bring a copy of your resume. Bring business cards. And when you see someone walking around observing the action, casually ask, “what brings YOU to this hackathon?”
  6. Find your people: Sometimes you have to take a chance – turn up to a hackathon where you don’t know anyone and join a team. Speak with others. Offer to help. Get a vibe for the other people in the room. And track down those who seem “like minded”. These are your people. And together you will do great things.

Hackathons are not just about the prizes

Hackathons are more than just a chance to test out your ideas and win some prize money.

Hackathons are a great way to showcase your skills to potential clients, meet other developers and collaborators and even kickstart your new startup social enterprise. Be open minded and you’ll find that deep inside, there’s a hustler waiting to get out.

Other hackathon hustling tips?

Be sure to share in the comments.

Announcing the #Hack4Homelessness Prizes

By | Hack4Homelessness, Hackathing, Social Impact, The Feed | No Comments

We’ve been working very hard behind the scenes to bring the right people, mentors, supporters and experts to help you build the most amazing solutions to the challenges of homelessness. But right now, we’d like to share information about the prize pool for the #Hack4Homelessness. Remember, you can register to participate here.

The prizes will help extend your project well beyond the weekend of the 15-17 September. They include:

1st Prize

  • $1500 in cash
  • 3 months co-working space at Vibewire for up to 6 members (valued at $3000)
  • 1 free part time AcademyXi course for one of the team members or ($1,250 credit for each member)
  • $100 AcademyXi Bootcamp ticket for each winning member
  • Premium membership to Social Change Central

2nd Prize

  • $500 in cash
  • A copy of ‘SPRINT: solve big problems and test new ideas in just 5 days’ by Jake Knapp for each member
  • $100 AcademyXi Bootcamp ticket for each winning member
  • $1,000 credit for each team member  (part-time courses)

3rd Prize

  • $100 AcademyXiBootcamp ticket for each winning member
  • $750 AcademyXi credit for each team member (part-time courses)

Conditions of AcademyXi credits:

  • 12 months expiry
  • Non-transferrable to others
  • Can’t be used with other offers

Check out the AcademyXi courses available including growth marketing, virtual reality design and product management!

Don’t forget to register!

If you have not registered as yet, you can do so as an individual or as a team.