How did products like Go.gov.sg , Postman.gov.sg, and RedeemSG come about? They were all ideas born and developed through Open Government Products’ annual Hackathon.
What is Hackathon?
Every year, for the entire month of January, our officers pause non-core projects to work on a public good problem that interests them. Throughout Hackathon month, our officers go through the iterative process of generating new ideas for products, conducting user research, and prototyping, with the end goal of showcasing working prototypes by the end of the month. Hackathon also provides an opportunity for OGP officers to learn and develop new skills as they work to build new products.
Hackathon is an annual fixture of OGP’s way of work to keep us identifying and working on building tech to deliver public good in its various shapes and forms.
What happens during Hackathon?
Hackathon starts with the team’s annual retreat, where OGP officers take time to review the past year and discuss their vision for where OGP should go towards in the coming year.
The team then embarks on learning journeys within the community, attending sharings from public officers on the ground to better understand the nuances and challenges of their work. The invited speakers come from all areas of public service so that our officers are exposed to a wide set of experiences, constraints and opportunities.
Having our officers understand what the ground is feeling and facing allows us to align the solutions we build to actual experiences, and deliver public good.
Mixers and ideation workshops also allow our officers to exchange ideas and identify areas that they want to tackle. Once teams identify a problem they want to work on, they then spend the rest of the month building and prototyping solutions. Coming up with a meaningful solution to a problem is often a non-stop iterative process of research, building, testing, and refining. During this process, our engineers, designers and product managers work very closely together so that the feedback loop can be kept closed and tightly moving.
Hackathon culminates at the end of the month with groups presenting their final working prototypes at Hackathon Finale. After the finale presentations, many prototypes that have shown potential to create value for the public then get converted to full-fledged OGP products.