Hacking the Future of Work

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Impact Hub Ottawa

123 Slater St, 6th Floor

Ottawa, ON K1P 5H2


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Presented in partnership with RBC, Uber, McKinsey & Company, Trilateral Commission, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Paddle HR, Impact Hub Ottawa and Datafest Ottawa.

Hack for a cause!

The latest research on The Future of Work indicates that almost half of current workforce activities have the potential to be automated with today’s robotics and artificial intelligence technologies. Activities most susceptible to automation involve physical activities in highly structured and predictable environments, as well as the collection and processing of data.

The most automatable jobs in industries such as accommodation and food services, manufacturing and retail trade are those occupied by some of the most vulnerable in our communities including migrant workers, youth, low-income households and the aging.

The Future of Work is a fall 2017 hackathon programme featuring meetups, big, bold idea sessions and a capstone weekend-long hackathon on October 13-15 in Ottawa. It’s an opportunity to apply your creativity, coding, design, and data visualization skills to do good for your community.

We’re hacking The Future of Work to:

1) Identify, monitor and forecast the forces that are driving workforce changes, which workers will be impacted and how; and

2) Develop tech-based solutions to help the most at-risk and vulnerable workers in our community through these transitions (up-skilling, re-skilling, entrepreneurship etc.)

Join us

The hackathon will bring together 15 teams consisting of 4 technologists and subject matter experts (60 people in total). Besides skills, we care about inclusion and are hoping hackers of all cultures, backgrounds and genders sign up!

Up to three teams with the most promising prototypes will be selected to present at a formal meeting of The Trilateral Commission, a non-governmental policy forum, on November 4 at the Chateau Laurier.

As part of this hackathon you will:

  • Gain an understanding of challenges and opportunities relating to the future of work in a rapidly changing, technologically advancing world;

  • Have the opportunity to forecast and disrupt these challenges with your ideas and skills;

  • Be challenged to think critically as you build something new and helpful;

  • Meet, learn from and be inspired by creative, collaborative and caring folks like yourself.

Hackathon weekend schedule

1. Friday, October 13 – Gather at the end of your day to hear pitches. Network, form a team and enjoy some snacks. Hack until midnight.

2. Saturday, October 14 – Greet your team and hack to it. Be fuelled throughout the day by hearty meals. Hack through to midnight and have fun!!

3. Sunday, October 15 – Polish your project throughout the morning and put together a stellar presentation to explain and demo your team’s accomplishments to others, including a panel of experts.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will hackathon projects be developed and announced? We are organizing a Big, Bold Ideas session for subject matter experts and end-users on Friday, September 15th. Do you have a big, bold idea? Contact us to learn more about how to participate. Challenges will be announced online and in-person at a pre-hack meetup on October 3rd. Mark your calendars to join!

Who can attend? Attendance is open to everyone of all ages and backgrounds. We ask that participants under 16 be accompanied by an adult. First time hackathon participants are welcome! Everyone will have skills to bring to the success of this event.

How are teams formed? Teams will form organically following problem pitches on Friday evening. Choose the project that appeals to you most and where you feel your expertise will be most valuable.

Must I attend the entire weekend? Try to be there for your team and commit to the event program. We understand that commitments and last-minute emergencies may prevent participants from hacking through the weekend.

Are the travel fees or other expenses to be reimbursed? Participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from the hackathon. We will reimburse out of towners up to 100CAD upon presentation of a receipt at the event (gas, bus etc). Contact us if you’d like help finding Ottawa accommodation.

What should I build? Work with the designated subject matter expert to prototype a tech-based solution. Here are some criteria to keep in mind:

  • Impact – Does this solution have a real impact for its target audience? Is it scalable? Does it solve the stated problem?

  • Creativity – Is the solution novel? Does it approach the problem in a creative or never-seen-before way?

  • Design – How well designed is this solution? Did the design process include the user? Is it seamless for the user?

  • Technical Achievement – Does this prototype a solution to a technical problem?

What datasets are available? We have access to a wide range of open datasets from all levels of government as well as shared data from some key players in the labour market field. We have begun packaging these and a (growing) dataset repository will be out and about soon.


By entering the Hackathon, participants agree to abide by the rules and decisions of the organizers.

The Hackathon is open to everyone. Participants under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Registration to the hackathon will be administered by Datafest Ottawa.

The maximum number of hackathon participants is 60. In the event that registration reaches 60, Datafest Ottawa will manage a waiting list and inform waitlisted registrants as spots become available.

The Hackathon venue is Impact Hub Ottawa.

Participants may work on a team of one to four people. Teams will be formed on the evening of October 13th following the problem pitch session. Teams may form organically. Latecomers may join a team the morning of October 14th.

Computers are not provided, so participants should bring their own computer and other equipment, including power bars. Participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from the hackathon.

Participating in the hackathon is $10. All meals and drinks will be provided.

Code of conduct

All attendees, sponsors, partners, volunteers, and staff at our hackathon are required to agree with the following code of conduct. Organisers will enforce this code throughout the event.

We expect cooperation from all participants to ensure a safe environment for everybody.

Our hackathon is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, previous hackathon attendance or computing experience.

Harassment of hackathon participants, and the use of alcohol and illegal substances will not be tolerated.

Offensive language and imagery is not appropriate at any hackathon venue, including hacks, talks, workshops, parties, social media, and other online media.

Participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the hackathon at the discretion of organisers.

Intellectual Property

The intellectual property (IP) rights of hacks produced at the event belong to their respective teams and not to the organisers, sponsors, or partners.

Participants are encouraged to use their own proprietary solutions to develop creative and efficient products provided you have appropriate legal permission.

If you are representing a company, your company’s proprietary software assets are also allowed to be used with the appropriate permission from your organization.

Please reference the Terms and Conditions of the data you work with to confirm that all IP rights remain with the participant and/or the organization they are representing.

Recognition and support for team projects may be developed in order to increase the scale of impact.

Sponsors & Organizing Partners

RBC is Canada’s largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies and have over 80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million clients.

Uber Technologies Inc. is an American technology company headquartered in San Francisco, California, operating in 633 countries worldwide. It develops, markets and operates the Uber car transportation and food delivery mobile apps.

McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm that serves leading businesses, governments, non- governmental organizations, and not-for-profits. We help our clients make lasting improvements to their performance and realize their most important goals.

The Trilateral Commission is a non-governmental, policy-oriented discussion group of distinguished citizens from Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific formed to encourage understanding and closer cooperation among these three regions on shared global problems.

Paddle HR is a cloud-based enterprise HR SaaS platform that helps large companies improve employee retention via internal mobility of current employees. Its mission is help talent flourish in organizations.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies has nine offices across the country and is a leader in both public relations and public affairs. Headquartered in Toronto, the company is the No.1-rated strategic communications firm in the country. Its experts specialize in corporate communications, marketing communications, public affairs, engagement, crisis, energy, technolgoy, health care, content marketing, researhc and measurement, social and digital communications, financial communications and transactions.

Impact Hub Ottawa is a community of creative and entrepreneurial changemakers who are shaping a better future for our city and our world through social innovation and cross-sector collaboration. Impact Hub is powered by a global network of 15,000 individuals around the world.

Datafest Ottawa organizes events to spark innovation in the public, para-public and charitable sectors. They bring together subject matter experts with experts in open data, technology and design to develop new concepts and tools that advance social issues.

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Impact Hub Ottawa

123 Slater St, 6th Floor

Ottawa, ON K1P 5H2


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