Hacking Energy Culture: Join a Hackathon with GOOD at MICA

Next weekend, GOOD is bringing designers, developers, educators and storytellers together to rethink our global relationship to energy.

Next weekend, we're bringing designers, developers, educators, and storytellers together to rethink our global relationship to energy. GOOD's Hacking Energy Culture hackathon, organized by Senior UI Designer Doris Yee, will be held February 8 to February 10 at Maryland Institute College of Art.

There are clear and undeniable changes that contribute heavily to the conservation of energy; however, hacking the culture of energy requires a different kind of consideration than creating a solution to save energy. The task is more about composing data smartly and effectively to cause a change in energy consciousness than it is about the invention of a new lightbulb. As a 24-hour sprint, the hackathon aims to generate new ways to interface with energy consumption, waste, and preservation.

Energy is an issue that necessitates collaboration, as our actions together tilt the expenditure or preservation of resources. And the current climate of the technological spirit is one that thrives on groups of people thinking and creating together.

Scrum and Agile software development, processes that in large part integrate the decision-making and predictability of a product into the operational level, have largely become the de facto style of production for many businesses that are creating online platforms or apps. Volatility and unpredictability are standard in these methods, and the potential for innovation and new ideas is ripe: what may appear as uninfluential within an Agile team’s process is welcomed and may even define a shift in a product feature’s core value proposition.

Hackathons are perhaps not that different than the Agile process, and typically involve high levels of challenge and excitement that are defined by a tight deadline. They are opportunities to get like-minded software engineers and product designers together to propose an answer to a question and to battle for the best solution to a challenge done in the best way. Participants are preemptively on their toes, as they are required to form near-immediate work bonds with strangers, iron-out a quick team process, and check big egos against the objectivity of the best idea, best method, or best-communicated solution.

The Hacking Energy Culture hackathon is a laboratory to rapidly invent work methods and just as quickly pitch ideas. At times, too slow of a process or too much time spent on one aspect of an idea will be the detriment of a team. And sometimes the least fleshed-out idea can still beat the most thought-through idea simply because it might be provocative enough. The winners of Hacking Energy Culture will be announced on GOOD next week.

Check back to see the great ideas that are created, and who will win.

This month, challenge a neighbor to GOOD's energy smackdown. Find a neighbor with a household of roughly the same square footage and see who can trim their power bill the most. Throughout February, we'll share ideas and resources for shrinking your household carbon footprint, so join the conversation at

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