The European Commission’s ISA² Programme is contemplating co-funding hackathons to encourage public sector organisations to share and reuse ICT solutions. To assess interest in support for hackathons on public sector data, software and IT services, the programme has been running a survey in recent weeks.
The survey will run until 14 October. That means public services that have organised hackathons and would like to share their experiences, and those interested in organising future workshops, have 4 days left to submit ideas and suggestions. Responding to the survey will take 10 to 15 minutes.
Through the survey, the ISA² Programme hopes to get an indication of the costs involved, and collect examples of the benefits. In addition, the programme hopes to learn about the biggest barriers to organising these workshops. Knowing the pros and cons may open up the possibility for the ISA² programme to support public services in organising such events.
Based on the responses so far, hackathons and conferences on open data and public sector software have been organised in at least 12 EU Member States. On average, a hackathon can draw up to 100 participants, yet cost no more than EUR 2,300. However, two out of three public services report that finding sufficient funds for such events is difficult. The preliminary survey responses show that it is slightly easier to acquire public funds than it is to get companies to contribute.
A second big hurdle lies in achieving a hackathon’s goal: reusing open data and building software solutions. This is related to third problem that has to do with communication: getting enough participants.
One way to increase effectiveness, survey respondents report, is having support from their own, internal services. There is often a lack of commitment from management, they say, and it’s difficult to find the time to organise a hackathon.