The Global Hack is an online hackathon designed to share and rapidly develop ideas for urgently needed solutions in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, as well as to build resilience post-pandemic. A hackathon is an intense brainstorming marathon where people with different skills get together, exchange ideas, form teams around the best ideas and develop working prototypes over the course of a set time period. The Global Hack has brought together over 12,000 participants from more than 100 countries who worked on 500 life-changing projects during a 48-hour global hackathon. The participants worked in teams across ten different tracks that focused on finding solutions to a variety of the most pressing global issues aligned to key areas of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In April 2020, The Global Hack produced hundreds of co-created solutions related to the global health crisis that were mentored and evaluated by a group of experts and inspirational leaders from around the world. The solutions were fully developed into viable projects and initiatives after the 48-hour hackathon. Top projects won prize money to fund their next steps.
Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, the initiative is working to address needed changes in the economy, workplaces, healthcare systems, the environment, and more. Some examples of Global Hack projects include a disinfection station that can be used around the world, a culturally responsive program for addressing the psychological health of people in COVID-19 lockdown, and a forecasting tool that can predict the availability of reusable material from demolition sites. In order to participate in a hack, a group must submit an idea, register a team, and then complete an evaluation and prototype of how their solution will work in the real world. There are twelve tracks to fall into, including education, environment, crisis response, governance, mental health, solidarity in action, and more.