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At Imagine Zero we continuously research, collect, discuss and scrutinize ideas. There are countless ideas we discard after the first deeper session. Some make it further. Apart from the few that we then settle to work on, this page documents ideas we decided to not pursue after more than one session.
We explored organizing hackathons to enable software engineers to use their skills against the climate crisis. The possibilities are intriguing. Imagine Zero decided to not pursue these ideas because it’s unlikely that we can scale a concept in the space to global impact within 2 years. We worked on two flavors:
- Software engineers team up in Hackathons to solve NGOs’ problems
- A yearly league where a city’s software companies continuously score points on a ladder by having engineers solve NGOs’ problems
We can engage startups and corporations in a “20% time for own projects” framework, leading to higher and more purposeful employee engagement. This way, the tech scene can bring individuals or even “project teams” to NGOs which introduce a different mindset and skill set (tech-savvy, data-driven, iteration-oriented).
Why we abandoned it
We realized that in its current form this project is not sufficiently feasible for us to continue on. Quick overview on our reasons:
- Targeting SMEs and startups is difficult because of high (perceived) day-to-day pressure
- Large corporations already have similar programs inhouse. Either self-organized like Tata’s ProEngage (now rebranded WakeUpWeekends), or using existing providers like Alaya. There’s a market but it comes with long sales cycles, board involvement and far less than 10% of working time involved.
- The only feasible direct revenue stream seemed like education budgets. A little draft calculation showed that in order to hire one full-time senior staff member (70k€ including employer contributions), we’d need 80 employees enrolled at any given time assuming a willingness to spend 1k€/y from their education budget. If we assume renting out ~8 person-teams, it becomes impossible for that single person to do things like assessment, placement, coaching and acquisition.
- A second revenue stream is having donors pay for gigs. We didn’t explore this further because the additional scalability constraints of situational acquisition of funds put it outside scope for what projects Imagine Zero incubates.
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