Trento Pilot: #HACKDEV17

Nationwide hackathon to build together citizen-drive PA - a great example of participatory innovation

The main action of the URBAN INNO Trento pilot is to develop and test participatory process to enable innovation in the public administration and government in collaboration with local associations and citizens interested in the innovative development of the urban area.

As a part of the activities in Trento made by Informatica Trentina, URBAN INNO has supported the organization of the #HACKDEV17 event in Trento organized by  Speck&Tech, an association based in Trento that it is a community of start-uppers, students and young professionals fascinated with technology living in Trentino jointly with the UNITiN, one of the biggest University of Trento’s student association.

The URBAN INNO local pilot supported both in-kind, helping the coordination with local stakeholders of the Trentino’s innovation cluster with the PA and with SMEs and specific ICT development mentoring , and both financially, covering part of organizational cost implicated in an event that lasted 2 entire days, included the night between the 7th  and the 8th of October. The event was basically a 2-days Code SPRINT from the 7th October morning to the 8th October evening (all night included).

The #HACKDEV17 was really an unprecedented hackathon, a unique opportunity to experiment in the project,  establishing a new scale of community involvement and methods to be used, opening key ICT applications of the country ‘operating system’, developed in early versions by the Digital Transformation Team (a task force in charged by the Italian Prime Minister Office 1 year ago with the aim to speed up dramatically the digitalization level and ICT adoption in the whole country) to contributions and experimental usage by a large community of developers, in 25 Italian cities at the same time, as stated by the Diego Piacentini, head of the Digital Team.

This hackathon - a true marathon of code – was a size challenge never before seen: it is the first time that a hackathon of this vastness was organized in Italy and involves so many cities at the same time. The purpose is that stated: build together a Public Administration to fit citizen needs.

The event was organized in collaboration with a specialist in organizing this kind of events, Codemotion, and involved 25 Italian cities plus one foreign headquarters in San Francisco. The nationwide event involved in total more than 80 tech communities and more than 1000 developers.

More in detail, the Trento event was of particular interest due the few cities involved in the same geographical area (Italy North East), alone with Venice and Padua over overall territory composed by Trentino, South-Tyrol, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia (more than 8 million population).  The Trento event has been a huge success, involving directly in the competition 39 participants, involving more than 60 persons during the two days in the place of the event, plus a newspaper coverage and a quite huge social media activity.

Through this action, a very large community of developers (from university, from companies, from civil society) across Italy was called to support the citizen-engagement work already started by, the open community created in March 2017 by the Digital Transformation Team in collaboration with AgID - Italian Digital Agency,

The hosting place, provided by URBAN INNO, was at Impact Hub Trentino, the most important private incubator and co-working space in Trento, and the event was promoted by HIT (Trentino Innovation Hub) the provincial Innovation Agency and by University of Trento (Contamination Lab) and supported by several local ICT companies and by the Autonomous Province of Trento.

The overall hackathon ‘Challenges’ were defined by the Digital Team with the possibility to add new challenges by participants up to the last minute, just before starting the coding phase. The ‘Challenges’ were all closely linked to the individual projects and technologies that the Digital Transformation Team is focusing on and that. The #HACKDEV17 challenges were many and of different difficulty:

  • from the resolution of small bugs in public portals
  • or the creation of complex features already envisaged in the roadmap of individual projects
  • or the prototyping of new components to be created from scratch.

Different challenges in size, and also different possibilities to take the chance to solve them. In fact the Hack got two race options:

All challenges where published in the Developers.Italia Github account, each one hosted on the Developers.Italia platform.

Beside this, the hack organization planned a nationwide coordinated support.

  • The 26 events in the different cities where synched in time with a distributed agenda
  • A set of interactive webinars (mainly focusing Q&A sessions with experts on the specific software platforms) started from 2:30 pm of Saturday (October 7th) up to the October 8th late morning, one every ½h
  • A Slack workplace was provide to enabling a real-time discussion between participants and Digital Team components (

The hack produced 96 software solutions. The code made during the #HACKDEV17 has been licensed open-source, so it is made available to the entire community. The wise turtle project will be yet updated.

The submitted project where evaluated with specific criteria published before. There were a local jury (in every organizing city) and a nationwide jury, mainly composed by Digital Team staff that will continue to evaluate the works in the next days.

As well as the source code of the country ‘Operative System’ released by the Digital Team, composed by several modules, where released through github. Here a list of just the main ones:  

  • PagoPA (a software that enable to implement online payment system specific for the PA)
  • SPID (the standard to be used to implement citizen authentication on online PA services
  • Data Analytics Framework (a big data platform that will enable all PA to integrate dataset with national base registry and develop data analytics in friendly ways with several specific toolsets)
  • Security (a toolset to assess the overall security on PA websites)
  • ANPR (the nationwide Civil Registry platform, allowing PA to don’t ask same information to citizens and enable cross-municipality integrations)
  • CIE (the new Identity Card framework and platform)

In conclusion, the #HACKDEV2017 has been a great success, nationwide and locally in Trento, where the event has been supported by URBAN INNO pilot action through the involvement of Informatica Trentina staff and with the remarkable coverage of involved organizational costs of the event.

Through the hackathon, Informatica Trentina, beside to help the success in the organization, communication and tutorship of the event, has made an impressive test about the effectiveness of hackathon as a methodology to stimulate bottom-up engagement and innovation, not only in a single  urban area, but also jointly with other cities at the same time.

This experience will be made available for the other URBAN INNO partners as a part of the URBAN INNO Participatory Toolbox and as an impact results of the URBAN INNO local action in Trento. 

#HACKDEV17 action videos: (1) (2) (3)

An interview local winners (4) (subtitles in English)

Regional TV (RTTR) video: (5)


Speck&Tech #HACKDEV17 FB Album (more than 100 photos)

URBAN INNO #HACKDEV17 Storify story

Read more about Trento pilot

URBAN INNO: Trento Pilot #HACKDEV17 starting phase - rules of the game and organizational issues to all teams

URBAN INNO: Trento Pilot #HACKDEV17 starting phase - rules of the game and organizational issues to all teams

URBAN INNO #hackdev17

URBAN INNO: #HACKDEV17 The pitching phase

Trento Pilot: #HACKDEV17 - Group picture with hackers, mentors and organizers

Trento Pilot: #HACKDEV17 - Group picture with hackers, mentors and organizers