#HackSociety 2018: Build Tomorrow


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#HackSociety 2018: Build Tomorrow
How can we build the future through accountable innovation? How can we design scalable solutions and achieve impact without 'breaking things'?

MANILA, Philippines – Disruptive technologies have demonstrated the capacity to build vital connections, improve lives, and solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. 

They promise better health care, more accessible and relevant education, smarter energy consumption, more efficiently-run cities and communities, and even ways to solve one of the biggest threats to mankind: climate change.

Yet, all over the world in the past couple of years, global giants at the forefront of these technologies also tested our trust. 

The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal in April 2018 revealed the threats these technologies pose to individual privacy and society at large. The rise of bots, fake accounts, and trolls have transformed a platform once described as a catalyst for causes into a powerful weapon for spreading hate and undermining democratic institutions. 

In this age of creative destruction, is it possible for social responsibility and disruptive innovation to co-exist? Is it possible to design scalable solutions and achieve impact without “breaking things,” as the Silicon Valley ethos dictates? 

If you have answers to these questions, then you are what we are looking for. 

This 2018, Rappler, in partnership with the Youth Co:Lab initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Citi Foundation, challenges you to create impactful innovations that take into consideration lessons from today’s moral dilemmas.

On its 3rd year, #HackSociety wants you to help build tomorrow through “hacks” that would make our society more inclusive and humane: technology-enhanced, enterprise-driven solutions that bring us closer to the #2030Now goal to leave no one behind. 

Bottom line, we want to build tomorrow anchored on the fusion of technology and socially accountable enterpise. 

Socially relevant, tech-aided innovation

HACKSOCIETY. In 2017, HackSociety finalists underwent a 30-hour challenge where they refined their idea with mentors and experts.

The goal of #HackSociety since we launched it in 2016 is to crowdsource “hacks” that address key social issues while harnessing the new democratic space of technology. Within this ideathon, we teach the innovation process and inspire students and young professionals to think outside the box and form ideas on viable ventures. It’s a first step towards building social enterprise-driven solutions to social problems.

Selected teams learn new concepts, talk with experts and mentor and refine their ideas, and jumpstart their innovations by building prototypes.

Through these workshops, we hope to encourage responsible and technology-driven enterprise and innovation among the youth, one that is grounded on a clear understanding of social realities.

Here are this year’s 5 key areas and problem statements:

Media and democracy

  • How can we fight the spread of disinformation and hate in digital platforms?
  • How can we help the youth tap into the power of digital technologies while alerting and educating them about its risks and dangers?


  • What type of livelihood can reintegrate combatants and how can this be done?
  • How can we help disengage those on pathways to extremism or radicalization?

Governance and local development

  • How can communities manage change, digitize, and deliver effective services?

Environment and climate change

  • How can communities effectively beat plastic pollution?

Public health and well-being

  • How can communities bring down maternal mortality?
  • How can communities help make roads safer?

Ready to take on the challenge? Here are simple steps on how you could join:

  1. Create a team with two to 5 members. All team members must be under 30 years old.

  2. The hack must show relevance/focus on at least two SDGs

  3. All ideas are welcome. However, solutions with differentiators like digital and information technology innovations or multi-disciplinary team compositions will rank higher. It could be an application of existing innovations or systems to current challenges, or new approaches or tweaks to existing programs.

  4. Submit your idea through this form and answer the following questions in your X story:

  • How will your “hack” leave no one behind?
  • What is the specific problem you are solving?
  • Describe the solution you are proposing. How will the solution solve the problem you want to address?
  • What makes your solution innovative and sustainable? How will you incorporate technology to aid your proposed solution?
  • Identify your key stakeholders, target partners, and needed resources.
  • Introduce your teammates and their respective roles in implementing your idea.

The deadline for submission of entries is on October 19. Chosen entries will be notified on or before October 23, and will be invited to participate in the 30-Hour Challenge workshops for each of the key areas.

What’s at stake?

After a series of workshops, mentoring, and elimination, the best and most viable proposal for each category would have a chance to deliver their pitch at the #HackSociety, Rappler HQ, Estancia Mall Offices, Pasig City on October 29 and 30.

  • Winners will represent the Philippines in the UNDP and Citi Foundation’s Youth Co:Lab Asia-Pacific Regional and Global Summits happening early 2019 in Vietnam. All expenses will be covered. 
  • Access to Rappler events, workshops, and trainings. These events will provide winners with opportunities to network with partners who can provide mentorship and help refine your product/service and business model.

  • Production of one social video for their winning idea/innovation. The social video will be posted via Rappler and Move.PH social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity. This is your chance to create the change you want to see in our society. Talk with your peers, form a group, think of your solution, and submit your entry.

If you have any questions, email us at socialgood@rappler.com using #HackSociety in the subject line.

#HackSociety background

During the 2016 Social Good Summit, we introduced the first round of #HackSociety as an experiment where decision makers met ordinary people, and where both worked together to solve common problems and challenges. One startup that emerged from this experiment is Uproot Aquaphonics, a social enterprise that promotes water-based farming to help Filipinos grow their own food.

In 2017, we spun off #HackSociety as a separate event with hack workshops focusing on 4 key areas.  After providing them with data to help ground and refine their pitches, shortlisted participants worked on accelerating their ideas to a prototype through a 30-hour challenge.

The 3 winning start-ups LawKo, Phinix, and Arooga Health have gone a long way since winning in #HackSociety 2017. (READ: PH startups win international youth competition)

In December 2017, AroogaHealth won MaGIC Malaysia’s Pre-Accelerator Bootcamp. In March, Phinix also won the UN Environment Asia-Pacific’s Low Carbon Business Challenge. 

All 3 also emerged as top prize winners at the Youth Co:Lab Regional Social Innovation Challenge 2018 held in Bangkok, Thailand, on March 28.

Two Philippine start-up teams won international awards in Beijing, China, for projects that help achieve the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs). Start-up teams Arooga Health and Phinix also bagged two of the 5 2018 Asia-Pacific Youth SDG Innovative Awards in Beijing on August 2. – Rappler.com



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