The Covenant Grants

PresenTense Community Hackathon: Phase II

Organization: PresenTense Group/UpStart, San Francisco, CA

Grant Year: 2016

Project Director: Aaron Katler

Type of Grant: Signature

Grant Amount: $53,000 (1 year)


Community Connections

To support Phase II of the PresenTense Community Hackathon, designed to utilize PresenTense’s methodologies to promote collaboration within mid-sized Jewish communities in North America and to initiate conversations and solutions centered on education.

PresenTense’s Community Hackathon model convenes key players, identifies a pressing challenge and provides the framework and tools for developing collaborative solutions to enrich and engage its community. The process is comprised of six phases:

  1. Community outreach: Together with the Covenant Foundation, PresenTense will identified 3 target cities that possess the lay and institutional support for this initiative. We will then identify a host institution (“Host”) within each city as well as a local professional (“Coordinator”) to manage the program (25% of their job for 3-6 months).
  2. Identification of key educational challenge: Through an ideation process led by PresenTense, community leadership will determine a key challenge facing their community that can be addressed through innovative Jewish educational solutions. The challenge will be framed as a ‘how might we’ question as a part of our Design Thinking methodology.
  3. Convening of key players: Using PresenTense-suggested participant profiles, the Host will
    convene a diverse group of players to serve as the core population for the Hackathon process. The
    Host may hold targeted parlour meetings or video competitions in order to engage voices not typically included.
  4. Train the Trainer program: The Coordinator joins other community coordinators in NYC for a training program, with the goal of empowering the local community to own the process and the
    emerging projects. The Host covers travel expenses to demonstrate its commitment to the process and to receive training in our methodology. This model also enables a network of communities and professionals to leverage the individual learnings across a broader platform.
  5. Hackathon: Once trained, the Coordinator, along with a certified PresenTense trainer, facilitates a 1-2 day community Hackathon centered around the theme of education. The Hackathon methodology, developed in 2015 in-house at PresenTense together with experts, consists of an open forum to pitch ideas, followed by workshops on design thinking and structured lab time geared toward rapidly generating, prototyping, and developing solutions. At the conclusion of the event, participants will pitch and demonstrate their final prototypes. We anticipate that the Hackathon will result in 10-12 crowd-sourced and tested ideas per city. The Host will commit to support three of the ideas into the implementation stage. These ideas will be selected either through a competitive voting or judging process during the event, or afterward through an application process.
  6. Idea acceleration process: PresenTense provides structure, online tools and mentorship drawn from our venture development process to enable individuals/teams to accelerate their ideas toward execution. The goal is for participants to perform a market scan and build a structure/model for their solution. Each individual’s progress will depend upon their commitment, capacity and market need. Teams are provided with seed funding to develop these concepts.

PresenTense selected the cities of Vancouver, Portland, and San Diego to participate in this Community Hackathon.

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