The Lens - Changing Perspectives

The Lens at Charity Hack Scotland

Wednesday 23 September 2015 / The Lens Events

The Lens was delighted to be asked to participate in the judging panel of ACOSVO and Mallzee's event, Charity Hack Scotland, last weekend.

Taking place in Edinburgh’s Melting Pot, a centre for social innovation, the “hack-a-thon” lasted from Friday to Sunday and brought together the often distant worlds of the technology industry and the third sector.

It did so by inviting six national charities (Visibility, Breast Cancer Now, Drake Music Scotland, Carnegie Trust, CVS Inverclyde and Carers Trust) to propose a challenge to teams of technical experts. Each challenge was a current reality for the charity and included such varied examples as needing a digital “drop-in centre” for carers across Scotland to making music software accessible to all. Each team of “digiteers”, randomly matched with a charity on the day, had only the weekend to devise a creative – and digital – response to their challenge.

Certainly, the lively and enthusiastic response of the teams was evident, as by Sunday they had virtually taken over Thorn House, the home of the Melting Pot, and produced incredible solutions to the challenges they tackled. Anna McBurney, Business Developer at The Lens and judge at the Charity Hack, said of the event: “It was a great initiative: by engaging expertise out with the third sector, the six charities had digital solutions to real challenges they faced. This is the kind of thinking The Lens is all about: taking a fresh approach to encourage innovative ideas.”

The top prize – winning £900 worth of shoes and £500 worth of Amazon vouchers – was awarded to the team who pitched a solution to Visibility’s challenge to help them maintain the health and wellbeing of their users between visits from the Visibility team. They pitched the idea of three apps which could be used by users to scan their health and therefore encouraged self-managed progress. The idea was simple, effective and sustainable.

Indeed, the whole weekend was evidence of the ingenuity and innovation that can be generated by bringing together two industries which are often separate. It created a new platform to find technical solutions to third sector issues which, in today’s day and age, is essential to both progress and sustainability. The Lens was delighted to be a part of an initiative that spanned boundaries and created new synergy and connections in the Scottish third sector.

For more information on the event, and those involved, visit