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Espresso of Innovation: New Hacking

By Steven Bennet-Day, digital creative director

Hello and welcome to this week’s Espresso of Innovation; the hottest news and strongest stories from the world of creativity and technology filtered into a quick shot of inspiration.
This week, New Hacking
The popular image of thehacker has been media fodder for years, with organisations likeWikiLeaks andAnonymous making headlines. Whether it’s for the information liberation or just the LULZ, like anything that straddles the line between law and morality, it makes interesting reading. But let’s leave that behind and take a look at ‘new hacking’.
The term ‘hacker’ has been around since the 60's, originating from hacking something apart and using what you’ve hacked to engineer something new or better. Not quite the same as the popular media portrayal of hacking is it?
It involves skill and ‘hackers’ are creative people who can see the possibilities of creating, building and inventing new things – valuing creativity and collaborative efforts above all. A lot of the technology we rely on to run the Internet was ‘hacked’ together by groups who put aside commercial concerns and made some damn fine stuff.
Hacking For Good
New hacking is big – so big even politicians can see its practical application. A while back the UK governmentopened up their data feeds and invited anyone to ‘hack’ together a new service or utility from the data (take a look atNumberhood). Just this week the whole of America have been invited along to aNational Day of Civic Hacking.
Hacking is said to embody ‘the ideals of the internet’. It certainly attracts smart folk wanting to collaborate and experiment to solve stuff that matters.Rewired State curates a network of ‘hackers’ and runs hack days for everyone from the government to charities. Check outGood For Nothing,Creative Currency andHomeless Hack and start putting the world to rights.
Ad Hack
Creatives have always been interested in collaborating and making something new out of something existing.Music Hack Day has been running since 2009 and while the focus of the event is on fun, participants can produce viable commercial products because sponsor brands such as Spotify, Facebook and EMI encourage use of their APIs.
With hacking shaking off its sinister image, marketing people (likeCadbury’s andThe Guardian) spotted a movement and turned the ‘scrapheap challenge for software people’ gatherings into ‘hackathons’. There’s even amanifesto.
Final Thought
Put simply ‘new hacking’ is about collaborative problem solving. It is using data, repurposed systems, code and technology to solve challenges: big ones relevant to society and little ones relevant to brands. The term should be front of mind with HR, R&D and the C-Suite in order to take businesses to the next level. The only question that remains is what in your life needs a dose of new hacking?
As always for more great tech, trends and insight head to our Facebook page and if you come across anything innovative, amazing or just plain fun please email them to us.
If you can’t wait to be part of this new breed, why not get stuck in with this weekend’s NHS Hack Day?