The First Czech-Slovak Participation Hackathon: How Did It Go?

by Participation Factory

Together with the Institute of Planning and Development of the City of Prague (IPR) we organized a participatory hackathon. PARTI.HACKATHON23 was the first event of its kind focused on participatory planning. What does such a participatory hackathon look like? And how did it all go? Although the origin of the word hackathon comes from computer programming, we didn’t ask the participants to do anything like that. We focused on the most interesting participatory processes instead.

For this event, we invited the biggest experts in participatory planning from the Czech Republic and Slovakia to CAMP (Centre for Architecture and Urban Planning). On the day of the event, 38 participation coordinators, employees of innovative agencies, and regional and city authorities professionally engaged in participation came to be a part of the hackathon. These 38 participants came from 20 different authorities, and for the purposes of the hackathon program, we divided them into 9 new teams, in which they worked intensively on 7 different challenges – participatory processes. After two days of rigorous work, they presented proposals for complex and inspiring participatory processes that can be used in practice. The teams presented their outputs at the final expo that concluded the event. The best and most innovative outputs were awarded by a jury.

It was important that the challenges reflected real problems that the participants may encounter in their working lives. That is why we put together the description of the challenges together with the invited guarantors, all of whom were experts on a specific agenda, but not necessarily on participatory planning. The guarantors served as agenda-specific experts to the teams that worked on a specific challenge. On the other hand, the guarantors gave their insights into possible ways of solving their problems through participatory processes.  In addition to this, the participants were also able to try out civic tech tools on the spot. The teams were provided with four different civic tech tools they could incorporate into their designs –, Decision 21 and Konveio. Our Civic Tech expert was on site throughout the whole time to explain the possibilities and show practical examples of how to use these tools. The individual teams then suggested specific uses of the digital tools in their proposed processes. 


What challenges awaited our participants? 


Guarantor: Leo Steiner (Ministry of Regional Development of the Czech Republic)


Guarantor: Martin Klečka (Koridor D8)


Guarantors: Kristýna Seinerová (Prague Children and Youth Parliament), Katya Petrikevich (Participation Factory) 


Guarantor: Jan Kleňha (Czech Priorities)


Guarantors: Ondřej Pergl, Beáta Hanousková (Ministry of the Environment)


Guarantors: Martin Špičák, Jakub Hendrych, Marianna Páleníková (Institute of Planning and Development of the City of Prague – IPR Prague)


Guarantor: Anna Kuryviálová (Institute of Planning and Development of the Capital City of Prague – IPR Prague)


All the teams presented their innovative ideas that can be put into practice in the form of a developed project, during a closing expo. The jury awarded three “top teams” for their comprehensive and innovative solutions.

The first project awarded by the jury was the project of the team, which was dedicated to the topic of the transformation of coal regions: the Operational Program of Just Transformation (OPST). The aim of the participatory process was to inform the public about the OPST, to cooperate with local actors, to create a positive perception of the whole process of transformation and implementation of the OPST, and to promote engagement and interest in these processes. The team designed a process that connects the communities involved and highlights the need for a quality marketing campaign both online and offline. Participants also came up with the design of its own civic tech tool “Tinder for Municipalities”, a website and an app for the Just Transformation Program, which will connect municipalities with the same issues for better coordination and collaboration. The team received a special mention from the jury for the comprehensiveness of the solution, the innovative idea of the “Tinder for Municipalities” app, and their well-developed communication plan. 

Another project that received special mention from the jury was the fifth team’s project “My Way Home”. This one focused on the Creation of Infrastructure for Youth Participation. The aim was to design an infrastructure for youth participation at the community level (in a municipality, city, district, or region) that would provide young people with practical skills and opportunities to engage in participatory processes. The challenge was to define a vision for youth participation and create a mechanism for young people to work together within their local community. The “My Way Home” project would map the needs of children by collecting their stories about their way home from school and would also enable children to adopt a place the development of which they have followed over a number of years. The project engages children in public space and blurs the boundaries between the school environment and public space. The team received a special mention from the jury for their well-crafted complex process of engaging youth in public space development. 

The third awarded project was the project of team number 10, which developed the challenge of Systematic work with stakeholders. The aim was to create a model for long-term and systematic cooperation with key stakeholders. The model was to be applicable for working with stakeholders dealing with different agendas and in different territories. In our countries there is no system for such complex work:. there are no proper methods for mapping, selection, and subsequent work with the stakeholders. Thus, most of such work is done on an ad hoc basis, often by starting from scratch with each project. The group designed a systematic model according to the brief. The team received a special mention from the jury for the elaborate detailed documentation and the use of multiple civic tech tools at different stages of the process. 

All participating teams managed the work on their challenges at a great level. Thanks to PARTI.HACKATHON23, a real community of participation coordinators is emerging in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and we hope that they can continue to learn from each other and spread examples of good practice. Would you like to participate in the next edition of Parti.hackathon? Or learn more about the solutions the teams came up with? Get in touch with us at!