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“Digital Living” Innovation Office launches with the Opportunity Hackathon

Photo: Kerstin Musl

How can family benefits such as the child supplement reach those who need them faster and more accurately? What digital tools should be created so that people who care for others, either as volunteers or professionally, are able to perform their tasks even better than before? And how can the Federal Ministry’s troves of existing open data be made more accessible and usable? On 14 and 15 June 2019, more than 100 participants in the first Opportunity Hackathon, held at the Ikonic Studio in Berlin, tackled questions like these. For two days, they worked in different groups answering the questions posed by the task of developing a modern, digitally supported social policy and worked on concrete ideas and prototypes.

With the Opportunity Hackathon, Federal Minister Dr. Franziska Giffey also officially launched the “Digital Living” Innovation Office, a project of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ), which the Berlin-based iRights.Lab was commissioned to operate. The Innovation Office supports the Federal Ministry and its target groups in exploiting the potential of digitisation through concrete innovative projects and by transferring digital skills. Dr. Franziska Giffey and the head of the Innovation Office, Philipp Otto, celebrated the start of the Innovation Office by cutting a cake created especially for the occasion.

In a first working phase, key topics and concrete questions were worked out and then presented in a plenary session. The second day was dedicated to working on concrete project ideas. Concepts were developed in a total of 13 smaller groups and during an almost seven-hour workshop, before being presented in a final round involving all participants.

The three best ideas were honoured by the Impact Group, a jury of experts from various fields. The winning projects included a model for a family account with which family benefits can be organised and reach their recipients without bureaucratic hurdles, and the diversity game “Hung Up”. The game is aimed primarily at clubs and volunteers and is designed to offer players the chance to inhabit different roles and life circumstances and thus be confronted with the corresponding problems and challenges. The goal is to find remedies and discover solutions for the situations which they encounter.

Another outstanding group developed a convincing model for converting the large volume of publicly available data belonging to the Federal Ministry into an Open Data format. The data should be presented in a simple and understandable way and designed to be graphically appealing. This will make data more accessible and usable for citizens. The winners will now work with the members of the Impact Group on their ideas and develop them further. A first meeting is already planned for the end of July.