Renew Wales/ Cwm Taf People First Hack-a-Thon Event
Having the opportunity to try something new, push ourselves outside of our comfort zones and embrace the unknown can both be incredibly exciting and absolutely terrifying at the same time, and running our hack-a-thon event with Cwm Taf People First was exactly that. Starting with the elements of anxiety and apprehension that was circulating on the build-up to the event, that feeling of not being completely in control and not knowing exactly what would happen as a result of the day was something that many of us experienced. Adding to that, this marked, for the majority of us, our return to in person, face-to-face work/interaction in a post covid-19 /lockdown climate. However, superseding all of that angst and tension was the anticipation of possibility and ‘what if’, which I believe was the catalyst for the hack-a-thon events success.
So, I know what you are thinking… what on earth is a hack-a-thon event? In short, our hack-a-thon was the brainchild of the Co-production Network for Wales team helping Renew Wales to undertake some innovative organisational evaluation through the Co-Design Project. The hack-a-thon event featured as just one of five events that had been developed as a result of a Most Significant Change exercise conducted with staff, coordinators, mentors and partner organisations across the Renew Wales network in December 2020. This exercise highlighted that currently there was no clear mechanism to create legacy products that captured the collective knowledge of the Renew Wales Network for future work and reference. Additionally, it also exposed an opportunity to reach new audiences and educate more people in line with Renew Wales’ mission to help communities in Wales reduce their carbon footprint, adapt to the impact of climate change and live more sustainably.
Hack-a-Thon: 4 Teams, 4 Hours, 4 co-created resources
On the 25th June 2021, we held our very first hack-a-thon event titled The Environment and Me. For this event, Renew Wales partnered up with Cwm Taf People First, a member led self-advocacy organisation for people with a learning disability, who were identified as an audience who are often not automatically engaged in conversations about the environment. We also employed a range of creative producers to help bring the ideas and discussions of each team to life and make something that could help share our learning across the Renew Wales Network and beyond. The aim of the event was to create a range of accessible resources that could act as conversation starters in developing future narrative with people with a learning disability about how they can help combat climate change and live more sustainably, and the end result of the hack-a-thon gave us exactly that! From mini films about what people with a learning disability felt was important to them about the environment, to designing solar panelled trains and cars, the event didn’t disappoint and provided a lot of food for thought in relation to that ‘what if’ and unlocking possibilities excitement that fuelled the initial development of the event.
To share their learning and experiences of participating in the hack-a-thon, all four teams showcased their resource creations at a virtual event held on 5th July 2021, and you can view the slide deck that was used to drive this showcase below. One of the most interesting observations that can be identified from this is the passion that was generated by creating and supporting an open safe space for people with a learning disability to be engaged in such conversations, and the incredible ideas for what could happen next as a result.
Keep watching this space for any further developments, as well as insight into the other four opportunities the co-design project has inspired.
Jenny Mushiring’ani Monjero
Jenny Mushiring’ani Monjero is a Specialist consultantShe is a member of the team supporting the Network’s collaboration with Renew Wales: the Co-Design Project.
The Co-Design Project is an ambitious programme of activities being delivered by Renew Wales in collaboration with the Co-production Network for Wales between November 2020 and September 2021. The project sets out to bring people together to explore how Renew Wales’ mission (of helping communities in Wales reduce their carbon footprint, adapt to the impacts of climate change and live more sustainably) can most effectively be carried forward for the long-term.