Brisbane hackathon delves into the data behind mind matters

4 November 2016

Hackathon uses open data for mental health survey

Brisbane creatives and tech types from industry, government, business and the public recently came together for the How Is The World Feeling? Datahack – a hackathon that ran out of the new co-working space at The Capital.

An initiative of Spur Projects, the datahack used the open data from its recent How Is The World Feeling? global mental health survey and applied it to different scenarios to improve mental health outcomes.

Spur Projects co-founder William Stubbs said the mental health survey was the first and largest of its kind, attracting more than 57,000 entries.

“This is the first time we’ve had the chance to work with data of this size and scope, so we were really excited to see what the teams could come up with at the datahack,” Will said.

Over two days the five teams developed and produced solutions to address the questions set by the participants, such as: “How do we tackle anxiety in the greater population more effectively?”

Each team was judged on a set of criteria including question development, analysis and understanding, visualisation and the resulting product, with the teams made up of various skill sets from data analysts and designers to mental health professionals and students.

Will said they were really impressed by the ideas that came out of the teams across the two days.

“The final products ranged from games for kids to social apps and websites that help monitor and understand one’s emotional state, connect with like-minded groups and individuals, and find nearby activities to reduce stress.”

The winning product was HotPot – an app that combats loneliness and specifically eating alone by connecting people at meal times. The winning team took home a prize worth more than $7000 including access to Pitchblak’s Startup Strategy program – a startup studio/accelerator; six-month membership to Little Tokyo Two, Brisbane’s most diverse co-working space; and social-impact mentoring from Assemblus, a not-for-profit that provides mentoring, advice and consulting.

Will said the winners and other participating teams had been invited to continue working on the ideas formulated over the two days.

“We offer to continue working with them and mentoring them to help them build the project,” he said

The How Is the World Feeling? survey was an evolution of the piloted How Is Australia Feeling? survey that Spur Projects ran in 2014.

“This survey is the first of its kind in that it’s the only real-time mental health survey of its size and providing open data that’s free for industry, government and the public to access,” Will said.

Spur Projects will submit an application to Guinness World Records for the largest number of people participating in a mental health survey in real time.

Find out more about Spur Projects and the How Is The World Feeling? Datahack.

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