Posted by & filed under Continuing Conversations.

The Dadamackathon idea (which is really more of a Dadamac Sprint idea) emerged through a meeting with Tribers at the Escape School, so I’ll introduce the idea via a quote from the Escape School newsletter (this relates to Dadamac Foundation)

Hello Tribers,

Last week we had the pleasure of listening to Pamela sharing her stories of Dadamac – how it started and what it’s all about – a charity dedicated to celebrating the amazing work local ‘Changemakers’ are doing in Africa! ( see video )

If you’d love to know more or get involved in some way you might be interested in the upcoming Dadamackathon! Instead of ‘talking about ideas’ or procrastinating ‘how to make change’, join Dadamac a couple hours a month to ‘do action’ through the power of social media! It might be something small as one tweet, or even a blog post, but each and every action we take can make a difference. If you’d love to get involved in a Dadamackathon contact Pamela to sign up!

Read on to see how this idea emerged (and why it’s really a Dadamac Sprint)

The inspiration

The inspiration came through a discussion with Escape Tribers of “What next?” for Dadamac Foundation and “How can people get involved?”

We tossed ideas around about inspirational organisations and approaches that Dadamac could learn from. We discussed the myriad of skills that could be used to help the “Changemakers” – and all the ideas pointed back to the same sticking point – “How do we get the message out in the first place so people know they can get involved?”

Hackathons came up in the conversation as an inspiring example. They offer an ideal pop-up opportunity for voluntary involvement without long-term commitment. They usually last a day or two, over a weekend, and the focus is a software project. It’s a recipe that suits the lives that people live now.

The attraction of a hackathon seems to be that it’s an interesting collaborative experience, during a pre-defined chunk of free time, which offers a demanding but achievable creative task, a worthwhile challenge, and a useful visible outcome.

The essential hackathon recipe seems to be:

  • Arrive
  • Get involved
  • Do good stuff that stays done
  • Leave with a sense of achievement
  • Go home happy
  • Job done

A Dadamackathon would stick to that recipe (but the output wouldn’t be software). We’re after some easy wins, so we’re thinking of a couple of hours only – less of a Dadamackathon”, more of a DadamacSprint  (for those of you interested in Agile approaches, look here for more about sprints).

The Dadamac Sprint plan

The problem

The problem we need to solve is one of communicating to a wider audience (potential supporters / collaborators / volunteers / funders etc) just what it is that Dadamac Foundation does that is unique and wonderful, and the sort of people / support it needs in order to do more of it.

Once we build a central core of people, then we can reach out and attract others, and, wow – anything could happen. Getting that first breakthrough is our big challenge, but it is an exciting one, because once we do it, things can really take off.

A solution to try

The “Dadamac Sprint” solution will be a couple of hours long. It’ll be a learning-and-doing session.

I know where we can find valuable Dadamac information online. Together we’ll dig out useful nuggets to present in new ways to attract possible supporters. We’ll all be learning “how a Dadamac Sprint works” as well mining for information and creating new stuff to share, so we’ll keep numbers low first time around.

Once we get the hang of it, we can invite more people. Dadamac Sprints could become a regular thing. (We might do some longer “Dadamackathons”).

Over time we’ll get evidence of our success – retweets, likes, offers of help, new initiatives to support the changemakers.

What we’ll do in our time together will depend on who turns up – but there will always be visible results.Maybe we’ll create inspiring infographics, a social media strategy, video recordings, animations, better ways of storing and processing our information, new ways of sharing it. Maybe we’ll interview changemakers and help them to tell their stories directly.  Even if we simply do a few tweets or Facebook mentions about Dadamac Foundation it will be a success from my point of view. Dadamac Foundation is still small enough for every scrap of help to be genuinely deeply appreciated. Dadamac Sprints and Dadamackathons will be enjoyable and rewarding ways to generate that help.