Innovation Lab in Sarajevo
Meeting different people is always fun and interesting. Creating something together brings a meeting many levels higher! There is nothing more inspirational than a vibrant workshop on developing projects together. That is why I’m always excited to participate in the events for activist and geeks, where the goal is searching for social innovation by using the technology and where there is time and space to work on creation and trying something new. This time that laboratory happend in Sarajevo, under the name of Innovation Lab.
From June 28 to June 30, I was participating in the jury of the event that gathered journalist, programmers, social activist working on projects that raise awareness of social participation and government’s accountability. The format of the meeting was a 48 hours hackathon. This time technology became a platform and a starting point for discussions about the free flow of information, policy and citizen-government relation. The event was organized by One World SEE and supported by Internews and USAID. It’s great that internet is used more and more often to support civil society efforts in creating social change by using tech tools.
Before the event, the jury preselected 8 out of 46 projects, two more were selected as the most discussed on Facebook and the submitters were invited by the organizers to work on them during the hackathon. Later, the jury composed of civil society activists, sponsor representatives, as well as IT specialists chose to reward with the 1st place prize the idea of KolorFilter – making the web more accessible for the colorblind. During the event, together with his team, the leader of the project - Aleksandar Savić has developed a website to raise awareness of colorblindness. In many cases the color blindness may cause troubles with accessibility of the internet, Alexandar noticed that not too many graphic and web designers are aware of that fact and he propose two-ways solution. The first one is a website in local language targeted to graphic designers and to general public. The next step is to create an addon to Firefox and Chrome browsers allowing the user to adjust the look of the webpage to his/her needs. The jury appreciated the innovative approach behind the project (giving power to the user) as well as the raising awareness part, to make the problem more visible to the public.
The event was also one of a kind opportunity to meet so many great, creative and passionate changemakers from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The special energy you can usually experience in such events was mixed with the benefit of discovering so many new things about the society and culture of the country. What I always bring from such meeting is a true belief that collaboration between NGO and technology has a lot of potential, and that’s the way we should use it!