Yoti’s 2nd Charity Hack

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Last week, we hosted our second charity design hack, here at the new Yoti HQ.

We design our charity hacks with two aims in mind. The first is to explore the ways in which the Yoti identity platform (which is free-of-charge for eligible charities) can help non-profits solve local and global problems. The second is to help provide the tools and nurture the confidence of charity staff to embrace digital technology.

In the spirit of being agile, we adapt the format of the event based on feedback and experience. Like our event in February, last week’s hack took the form of a design day, bringing non-profits together with developers graduating from Founders and Coders. However, this time, we shifted the timings so that the pitch took place on the same day as the design. In the morning, the participants work through their challenge to fully understand the problem. In the afternoon, they design a solution. At the end of the day, they pitch their idea to the developers, with a chance of winning a dedicated team of developers to build out a prototype of their solution.

We were thrilled to welcome Steve from Tickets for Good Foundation, Adriana from Global Action Plan, Katie from Civicus, Ben from The Entrepreneurial Refugee Network, Jason from Greenhouse Sports and Sonja from Power to Change as our second hack cohort. From an environmental charity with a mission to tackle our throwaway culture, to an organisation dedicated to supporting refugees to realise their ambition of starting a business, this was a very diverse group with two important things in common: a dedication to making positive change in the world, and the challenge of proving ID.

The challenges

All of our participants beavered away throughout the day, with the guidance of the Founders and Coders developers and some of the Yoti team, who advised on the technical feasibility of the ideas. The challenges were, well, challenging! One charity needed a way to quickly obtain digital parental consent for young people to participant in their programme, when they might not have the contact details of the parent. Another needed to verify the referees of the users of their online service. There were some where existing Yoti products – such as Yoti biometric login – fit the bill. There were others where some of our products in the pipeline would work well. However, in every case, we were keen to encourage the teams to look at solutions that didn’t necessarily involve the Yoti platform.

By the end of the day, all of the participants had designed a conceptual solution and two were selected to benefit from a dedicated developer team to build out their idea. We’re really excited about what will come out of those projects. The participants also fed back that they’d appreciated the time and support to work through their challenges and get some clarity, even if their ideas weren’t taken forward. There were also some welcome surprises. In particular, there were a couple of attendees who discovered real synergies in their work, so much so, they might work together.

We’re keen to share our experience with other businesses considering running charity hacks, and keep improving on our events to make them as valuable as possible for the charity participants. If you’re a business or charity and have some ideas, we’d love to hear from you!

A big thank you to everyone who helped make this event happen – from the many people including our friends at CAST, NPC and NCVO who helped spread the word, the charities who participated, Yoti’s own Alttaf and Kiran, who provided technical guidance and, of course, Founders and Coders, who facilitated the day.