The hackathon took place on September 15-16 in five sites around the world, including four mLabs and an mHub. It generated 61 prototypes, including 10 based on idea submissions to the m2Work Challenge earlier this year.
In a further push to ensure that the prototypes lead to inclusive jobs, the top apps at all participating mLabs are eligible to enter a pre-incubation track designed to ease the leap from app to startup.
For coders like Chandra Man Shrestha of news portal app NewsIt, a key aspect of the hackathon was feeling united with teammates in the thrill of working together through the night around the blue light of computer screens.
“Working with my teammates I feel and I get energy that we should take NewsIt to the highest level,” Chandra said.
"The first thing to note was high quality of work done and active participation of developers during this Hackathon,” said Alexander Shakaryan, whose MicroForester project landed him the runner-up spot in the m2Work Challenge and the first place at the Armenia chapter of the Hackathon.
“One could experience real idea exchange [and] mutual support,” he added.
The general sense of fellowship was all the more remarkable as many of the participants were new to hackathons, the concept of mobile microwork, and the mLab community.
For the organizers, the event not only fostered local developer communities in emerging mobile hotbeds. It also was an effective way to unleash the energy stored across infoDev’s mobile incubation network.
“This was really the first test of, ‘can we do a global activity by pulling together the communities at each site,’” said infoDev mobile researcher Nicolas Friederici. “It worked out well and we activated a lot of people locally.”
Several participants shared a similar feeling. As the hackathon drew to a close in Nepal, Quick Heal team member Roshan commented, “The hackathon never ends. This is just the beginning.”
The hackathon built on the lessons from events like the World Bank-convened 2011 Water Hackathon, organized around the globally urgent challenges of keeping water clean, safe, and available, and which drew about 500 total participants to its 10 sites.