Tag: randomhacks


Salmon Fishing at RHOK

What do Salmon Fishing and hackathons have to do with each other? I just watched Salmon Fishing in the Yemen tonight. It turns out that the movie had the best quote to represent those who RHOK:

“For Fishermen, the only virtues are patience, tolerance and humility.”

These are special people out to change the world. To RHOK means to spend a whole weekend braining on a prototype, often with new strangers. The essence of a hackathon like RHOK is to take those moments of crazy focus and big dreams, then distill them into high speed agile development. This selfless act of a global hackathon now has the opportunity to keep building with the Geeks Without Bounds and Social Coding 4 Good’s Sustainability programs.

Over the RHOK weekend, I wrote a number of blog posts on Rhokto.ca:

Rhok Projects and Participants

To show the spirit of RHOK Toronto, I created a series of short videos about the RHOK Toronto projects and RHOK Toronto participants.

While I think all the participant teams and hacks are winners, special kudos goes to first place RHOK Toronto winner:
Mobile Ultrasound in Remote Nepalese Villages

I truly enjoyed watching the participants go through the phases of possibility. We had between 60 – 83 participants at RHOK Toronto. I cannot say enough about the amazing braining by the participants and volunteers. You inspire me. Thanks to all the sponsors for again supporting Toronto’s efforts.

The movie Salmon Fishing in the Yemen has a premise of dreaming big and building a plan to try out crazy ideas. RHOK is that type of testing ground, without the large budgets and sweeping movie stars. Instead, RHOKStars each contribute in small, iterative ways. The crux for organizations is to be sure that the best models continue to be fostered with mentorship and funding.


Why does RHoK matter to the world?

Recently, I had the honour of being featured on the RHOK blog. This excerpt is my own take on how RHOK evolves with participants

RHoK is taste test of tech for social good. If RHoK inspires one person’s view of why their knowledge could affect change in their world and community, then it is successful. It matters because we need to figure out how to connect the right participant action to the real world issues. This is not something that can be perfect overnight. We are inventing the potential as we go. It is worth every single attempt, no matter hard it is.

I like to think of it as the OSI hackathon or RHoK OSI model:

  • Discover: “I can do this”
  • Encounter: Connect with people from a wide array of disciplines from technical to design to subject matter experts
  • Build a common language
  • Create and collaborate sprint-like to prototype
  • Join the movement of possibilities to remix and hack this model for local, national and global issues.
  • Mentor and train others to RHoK the planet

Here’s to more adventures, salmon fishing and hackathons!


RHOK 6 – Around the World

Random Hacks of Kindness is here! Around the world people are working on technical solutions for very real global and local issues. This is a chance to flex our technical muscles and focus on how our skills could make a difference. I’m excited that there are now sustainability models in place to take great prototypes and keep working on them.

RHOK is in 24 cities in 14 countries. Here is a quick tour of activities around the world. A summary of what people are working on will appear later in the day on the RHOK site. But, I like to wake up RHOK with a little world tour:

RHOK Melbourne

RHOK Hyderabad
Rhok Hyd - Shyamala Rao

RHOK Pretoria

Berlin @_Ayoub_:


RHOK Belgium
Beligium maasg


RHOK SouthHampton
RHOK Toronto

RHOK Atlantaatlanta


I’m missing a few city examples, but will try to update once they are live.

Have an amazing RHOK. Let’s do this!



Canada Rhoks!

This June four Canadian cities are hosting Random Hacks of Kindness (RHOK) this year: Vancouver (new), Toronto, Hamilton and Montreal.

Random Hacks of Kindness is a global hackathon that occurs in over 30 cities with over 2000 participants. What if your knowledge could change the world. This event is open to everyone. You do not need to be a software developer to contribute. The best solutions created use many different areas of knowledge. You’ll be amazed how much you can share.

“RHoK’s model is to start from identifying, defining and refining problem definitions provided by subject matter experts and local stakeholders. This ensures that volunteer time is focused on solving real problems for real people.”
All the solutions are open source. It is a chance to be part of a global movement of tech for social good.

Why attend

What if your knowledge could collide with others to build solutions that solved real-world problems? This concept of using our intellect to affect change will take time, effort and multiple attempts, but if we build on each other’s efforts it is an honourable goal to set and meet.

Last night I attended a talk at Open Bar about “Giving Back and Getting Involved” by James Walker, open source advocate and lifer. James summarized the top reasons to get involved in Open Source projects:

  • get involved to learn
  • gain experience
  • to get hired
  • to hire
  • meet new friends and like-minds

These are exactly the reasons why RHOK is magic. Being connected to ideas and doers around the world. These people inspire in every way possible.

Toronto RHOK needs you

Lead by Melanie Gorka, RHOK Toronto will hack on local and international problems.

  • RHok Toronto seeks sponsors to assist food, tools, services, prizes and funds which help make the event a success. Sponsorship for the event provides for a pre-event reception, meals for participants during the weekend and prizes for the top 3 innovative solutions or ‘hacks’. If you and your organization can help, Contact Melanie Gorka (melanie.gorka AT gmail DOT com).
  • RHoK Toronto Idea Jam is confirmed for May 15th at Bento Miso from 7-10pm. Join Toronto’s Idea Jam to submit your ideas for local and international hacks. Come prepared to pitch your idea. Your hack must meet the RHOK criteria.
  • Register for the RHOK Global hackathon on June 1-3rd
  • Join the next volunteer meeting on May 17th. Contact Melanie Gorka (melanie.gorka AT gmail DOT com) for more details

Join an RHOK event in Canada

Register for Hamilton

Register for Montreal.


If you are in Vancouver, the event will be posted soon.

Host an event

If you want to host a RHOK event in another city, here is the application. Please also drop me a note so that I can join your fan club. If there is not a local event, you can still get involved virtually.

The RHoK community is amazing. I’ve done 5 hackathons so far. The good news is that Geeks without Bounds is now working with RHOK on sustainability for projects. By taking some of the best hacks/prototypes and incubating them, their goal is to have the best projects be activated, tested and used to affect change.

Global hacker friends

We’re looking for some guest hackers for Toronto. I’ve slept on your floor and ate at your tables. Or, we’ve just connected at the many online events. Toronto needs you to join and inspire our local community. Please contact me if you would like to have a place to stay, food, no sleep and be part of Toronto’s vibrant tech for social good community for one weekend.

Let’s do this!


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