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There has been much discussion raised about "Why are women leaving Architecture? and more broadly, Why is the profession losing key talent?"  Both women and men practitioners are disillusioned by the myth of work/life balance: Women are grappling with "have it all" expectations of juggling family time with the demands of full-time work.  Men are struggling to support their families solely on an architect's salary and fall back on asking spouses to maintain their jobs. The lack of affordable childcare and high cost of living only magnifies the challenges.  How did we end up in this modern family dilemma? What can we do to improve the situation?

Anatomy of the EQxD Hackathon

by Lilian Asperin Clyman

Hackathons provide an energizing and alternative method to discover, unleash, and create through proximity, design thinking, and technology.  It’s what happens when you incubate passion with talent and suspend fear. It’s a mash-up for risk-taking that leads to transformational results.

Time is a fascinating influence in Hackathons.  Perhaps an irony we are nostalgic about is that more time equates to better results.  Discard that – we are not looking for perfection, we are looking for bold innovation.  Ask "Why Not?” five times in a row to identify the core of your disruptive idea.

Why Hack?

I have always believed that those who are meant to meet find each other in due time. Hackers find themselves gravitating towards other folks who share a passion or something (or approach) you have been pondering for a while. At Equity by Design we seek data that informs our activism. We are looking to form affinity groups of people who resonate with a finding from our survey and have a yearning to influence different outcomes.

TED Talk by Catherine Bracy: Why Good Hackers make Good Citizens

Flipped Classroom

For the AIA EQxD Hackathon, you will have homework but other than that, all you are required to do is come refreshed and ready for a solid day. In borrowing the modern concept within Higher Education, we will introduce you to key data from our Survey and brief summaries from the content sessions we organized for our Symposium via the Flipped Classroom model. It’s a packet of information for self study, which will serve as the foundation you need to be prepared to work with a team. In this packet you will find a summary of the Goals, Format, Organization for the Hackathon, Survey Data, a graphic depicting “Life of an Architect” - a visual narrative of a sample professional journey, a range of topics ripe for “hacking”, and a helpful set of guidelines for crafting an effective and engaging message to depict your proposal.

Time Will Fly

It’s ok to anticipate a little chaos. Suspend wanting to know what and when and linger longer in why and how with your teammates. These are the ingredients of your first exercise: Diverge and Converge. Leverage the diversity of your group to consider the points of view of your audience. The most transformational hacks will get at the root of a real need. Go for quantity of ideas, then Deliberate and Discard. Adopt the mindset of why your idea matters and get ready to “sell” it. Develop and Clarify. Many great ideas die at the vine because they are not communicated well or succinctly. Be strategic in how you design your presentation.  

There will be a Winner

You will have 5 minutes to make an impression to invited jurors during Happy Hour. In anticipation of this milestone for the day, we are sharing the criteria for evaluation.  Think of this as your pitch to venture capitalists - people who can help you  realize your idea. Please keep these in mind as you read the Flipped Classroom packet, engage in the Hackathon, and present.

User Experience: human-centered insight                                     5 points

Impact: innovation; relevance and impact on profession       5 points

Metrics: plan for action, deployment and evaluation               5 points

Pitch: quality and uniqueness of message/creativity              5 points

Diverse voices are needed to shape the future of our profession. Hope you can join us; we need to hack more!

Don't forget to register for AIA Convention by April 15th to get the advanced convention admission pricing. If you are a student, emerging professional or young architect interested in attending the Hackathon and Happy Hour, submit for the Scholarships donated by our EQxD Hackathon Workshop Sponsors: McCarthy Builders, WRNS, and Autodesk by 4/20.


Next Blog: Meet the Jurors!