24 hours in the life of a JustGiving hack

Stuff On A Map

Last week I had the pleasure of organising and managing the first ever company wide internal hack at JustGiving. Under the catchy moniker of JustHacking (lazy I know!), I asked the business to join me in helping to realise a few internal goals:

  • increase awareness and understanding of our API stack
  • have a go at innovating some internal ideas that we had previously shelved or not found time for
  • have some fun building stuff.

Having already trimmed down some 40-odd ideas from across the business into a shortlist of eight, we all met on Thursday afternoon (24 April 2013) to assemble into teams and kick off our inaugural company-wide hack.

We captured the story along the way so we could share it with you.

Day 1

Day 2

Don’t ask…

It’s lunchtime! Three hours to go…

Demo time!

The whole JustGiving office got to vote for their winner by SMS or tweet, thanks to PollEverywhere.com

And we have a winner!

So exactly 24 hours later, Team Stuff on a Map took home the JustHacking trophy. The initial idea was to visually showcase giving, so that within the four walls of JustGiving HQ, people could get a quick and exciting feel for the sheer volume of donations we process on a minute by minute basis.

Developer’s Jon and Jaspreet took the idea rapidly forward and were able to eventually demo a mash-up with Google Maps that pins every donation made in real time to the donor’s postal code. After feedback, they then finessed the visuals so that the pins were colour-coded by value.

The winning JustGiving hack was from Team stuff on a map

Certainly the most visually impressive of the hacks, the room erupted as donation after donation around the world landed. A worthy winner that will soon grace the office screens for employees and guests to enjoy. 

And so all good things must come to an end

What’s next?

A common challenge post hack is how to take the ideas forward.

Of the eight demoed, we’re confident that there are two or three that can be quickly finessed and pushed to production for internal and external use. The larger challenge lies with developing some of the ideas in our spare time, as the aim was to never overly disrupt our day-to-day product road map.

So next week the teams are meeting again to decide which hacks to develop more in our personal time. You could well see some beta versions of products we developed coming your way soon. We sincerely hope so!

But it needn’t stop there. There’s already enough interest to warrant another hack – probably some time early next year – and we’d be interested if further down the line this is a model we roll out to our partners, such as charities and agencies.

Could we hack around a certain theme or problem next time? There’s some questions to be answered, but if you’re keen to get involved do let us know.

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Jamie Parkins is the API product manager at JustGiving. He specialises in developing the services and technologies that enable charities, agencies and a growing community of developers to build applications that utilise JustGiving's technologies.