The Ministry of Digital Affairs holds a hackathon

The Ministry of Digital Affairs organized the first-ever government hackathon. The event, which took place on the 24th and 25th of September, brought together 17 teams of software developers could count on an adventure, a challenge, but also on cash prizes.

Hackathons are nothing new on the IT scene, but an event of this kind was never organized by a state institution before. State organizations are not particularly known for innovative solutions and good cooperation with the digital industry. However, we are speaking about the Ministry of Digital Affairs here.

A hackathon is an event in which teams of software designers compete to create pieces of code with specific purpose. In this case, the task was to create computer applications that make us of the access to public databases. The best projects were awarded with prizes from the sponsor, Polish Security Printing Works.

The event attracted 90 participants. The teams worked for 30 hours and came up with some excellent ideas. It was already announced that the organisers will take steps to bring the winning projects to life. This is to happen as early as 2017.

The Ministry held the event to promote the use of public data. Officials created a portal danepubliczne.gov.pl where citizens can find a lot of interesting and useful databases. Event participants gave the organisers plenty of tips for developing the portal and making the data easier to use.

The first prize, 18 000 PLN, went to a team who developed a prototype of an application assisting people in dealings with public institutions. The software helps the users find the competent office or present a list of documents that are needed. The winners were also invited to a paid internship at the Center for Informatics Technology, an institution developing digital solutions for the government.

The second place and 13 000 PLN went to the creators of an application for finding low-cost alternatives for medication. The team who took the third spot prepared a game allowing the player to step into the shoes of a city mayor. They went home with extra 9 500 PLN.

The teams heard congratulations from the Minister of Digital Affairs, Anna Streżyńska, who attended the event. The hackathon took place in the National Library in Warsaw.

The open data market in the EU is worth 55 billion euro. The Ministry hopes Polish developers will tap into its potential.