Hack4SocialGood – Innovation Workshop for Inclusive Digitalisation

An event for those interested in innovation in the social sector. At the Hack4SocialGood individuals from the social and technical sectors will work together to solve Challenges given by Social Sector organizations to develop prototypes.

11.12.2020, 14.00 o'clock until 12.12.2020, 18.15 o'clock – BFH, Hallerstrasse 10, Bern

What’s it about?

Digitalisation creates new challenges and opportunities and it is important that social organisations keep up with the pace of change. Unfortunately, social service professionals are often unfamiliar with the possibilities while technical specialists are unaware of the social sector’s needs. The Hack4SocialGood will bridge that gap.


Mehrere Personen stehen um einen Laptop herum.


  • Start date 11.12.2020, 14.00 o'clock
  • End date 12.12.2020, 18.15 o'clock
  • Place BFH, Hallerstrasse 10, Bern
  • Application deadline November 20th, 2020
  • Costs Voluntary suggested donation of 20 CHF

Why should I participate?

 Social Innovators

  • Learn about diverse challenges in the social sector
  • Expand your professional and social network
  • Collaborate with diverse people to solve social sector problems
  • Learn about cutting edge technical innovation in the social sector
  • You might win a prize
  • Fun, good food, and interesting conversation with different people!

Technical Innovators

  • Use your skills to make the world a better place

  • Expand your professional and social network
  • Learn about the social sector
  • Develop innovative concepts in an informal atmosphere with a diverse team
  • You might win a prize
  • Fun, good food, and interesting conversation with different people!

The Challenges

Based on structured text, a system will be created that helps social workers profile asylum seekers and summarizes their potential needs and possible needed services. In addition, the system will assess the urgency of the various potential interventions.

Relevant Skills

Text mining, programming interactive assessment interfaces, an understanding of the needs of asylum seekers, training, and the labour market.

Logo von Socialdesign
BFH Logo

The goal is to create an adapted learning environment with curated content for interpreters on the move. Interpreters often change their institutional and technical context, requiring support in terms of contextual knowledge and technical glossaries as they move between assignments.

Relevant Skills

Content curation, Customer-Journey, Learning Experience Platform (LXP), Next Generation Learning Environments ike Degreed or EdCast. An understanding of interpretation needs in the social sector.

Logo von Caritas

This challenge focuses on web-scraping. Parliamentary information relevant to poverty policy should be delivered daily in pdf form by email. The user defines relevant keywords and databases. The application should learn to combine keywords to optimize content selection.

Relevant Skills

Web scraping, artificial intelligence


Logo von Caritas

Sometimes social workers have to submit requests to a special committee to request unusual payments. An internal application should enable social workers to automatically send requests and manage outstanding tasks for the committee. After the committee decides on the individual requests, results should be saved in an electronic system and a paper letter drawing on personal data from the case management system should be generated.

Relevant Skills

Application development, online intra-net applications

Logo Soziale Dienste Wohlen

Social assistance records have detailed information on income expenditures by category (e.g., health insurance premiums). In this challenge participants will use this information to describe how expenditures have evolved over time, generating graphic interpretations and potentially offering a cockpit so that management can easily track future information.

Relevant Skills

Data analysis and visualization, cockpits, statistics

Logo Soziale Dienste Wohlen

sozialinfo.ch curates daily news for social work professionals. Sometimes this information can be overwhelming because of the diversity and quantity of content. We would like to develop an app prototype where personalized filters can be set, allowing users to access the information that is relevant to them more quickly and accurately.

Relevant Skills

Database management, Programming, Expertise about social sector information needs.

This challenge focuses on further developing an existing chatbot prototype for work in the social sector. The prototype is to be critically discussed and further developed with respect to both technical and content issues.

Relevant skills

Javascript, experience with Chatbots, Natural Language Preprocessing, experience in social work needs and knowledge of data protection law


For this challenge we will provide data from an ongoing SNSF project on inequality and poverty in Switzerland. The data includes information at the municipal level on income, wealth, inequality, and poverty. Participants should creatively think about and analyze potential structural factors underlying poverty and inequality.

Relevant Skills

Data management and analysis, data visualization, knowledge about poverty and inequality

Further Information

December 11th, 2020



Opening & Presentations




«Data sharing with practice partners»

Elmar Benelli, Team Leader Application Services Data Warehouse, SECO


«Coople: Use of data and algorithms to support the job search of welfare recipients»

David Kiefer, Research Assistant Innovation Department, Social Welfare Office Berne


«Digital Ethics»

Dr. Anna Jobin, Researcher Department of Health Sciences & Technology, ETH Zurich


Digital Award by sozialinfo.ch


Practice partners present challenges


Team building and start project work


Cocktails and dinner


Continued project work


Midnight snack


December 12th, 2020





Continued project work




Completion of project work


Handover of project files




Presentation of challenge solutions and evaluation by the jury


Award ceremony


Optional cocktails and networking in the Cafeteria HalleR


Do I need a project idea or a team to participate?

No. At the beginning of the hackathon, project challenges are presented. You can work on the project idea that inspires you the most.

What do I need to bring along?

Bring your laptop with you! If you want to hack on site overnight, you can bring a sleeping bag and mat a nap.

Is there an open WLAN network in the building?

Yes, there is the OpenWifi bfh-open. If you log in there, you can register via a login window with an SMS code.

Do I have to bring food?

We provide meals (vegetarian/meat) on Friday and Saturday all day. But feel free to bring food too, if you like.

Do I have to stay on site for 24 hours?

No. It is important that you discuss with your team when and where you will be working and that you contribute to the success of the chosen project.


Where can I stay overnight?

There are several Bed & Breakfasts and hotels

Can I be reimbursed for travel and accommodation costs?

No. If you need a certificate of attendance for your employer, we will be happy to issue it for you.

Are there any rules?

The development of technological innovations is not an end in and of itself. The priority is to benefit people. All projects must ensure the dignity and integrity of people. Innovations should promote inclusive social change, taking into account the needs of the most disadvantaged. At Hack4SocialGood all people are welcome, regardless of gender, nationality, or condition. These basic values are binding standards for all work within the Hack4SocialGood.

How do I get to the Hackathon?

BFH Department of Social Work

Hallerstrasse 10

3012 Bern

Coordinates: 46.952740, 7.435062

By train: From the Bern main station take the lift near tracks 12/13 up to the Grosse Schanze (Outlook platform in front of the University). From there it is a 5-minute walk to Hallerstrasse.


  • Bern University of Applied Sciences, Department of Social Work: Oliver Hümblin and Debra Hevenstone
  • Bern University of Applied Sciences, Department of Engineering & Computer Science: Arno Schmidhauser
  • Bern University of Applied Sciences, Department of Economics and Business: Nada Endrissat and Beat Estermann
  • Caritas Switzerland
  • Bern University of the Arts: Fabienne Kilchör, Leader of CAS Data Visualization
  • Open Data: Oleg Lavrovsky, Open Knowledge Representative
  • University of Bern
  • Sozialinfo (Gold Sponsor): Christine Mühlebach
  • Soziale Innovation Bern Accelerator SIBA: Urs Guggenbühl, Head of Start-Up at be-advanced AG and Start-up coach

This event is supported by:

BFH_open knowledge
*Gold Sponsor*
Logo der Universität Bern
Logo Caritas Schweiz