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Hack-and-Learn summer 2021


The International Network for Data on Impact and Government Outcomes (INDIGO) is an emerging data collaborative interested in sharing data about the design, implementation and evaluation of outcome-based projects. INDIGO’s ambition is to support the creation and use of quality data by policymakers, NGOs, citizen advocates and anyone who is addressing or is interested in complex social problems. Learn more about INDIGO here.  

Government Outcomes Lab

INDIGO is a part of the Government Outcomes Lab at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. The Government Outcomes Lab represents a ground-breaking example of research-to-practice innovation. Our work demonstrates the power of an academic institution walking shoulder to shoulder with governments and related organisations to enhance policy and practice towards better outcomes for people. Explore the Government Outcomes Lab's events, news and tools here. 


Our bi-annual Hack-and-Learn event is designed to give anyone interested in learning more about the use of data in the field of social outcomes a chance to connect with others and work on a real-life project. Harnessing skills and experiences from a diverse pool of actors, we provide a space for learning and community building around the use of data and an opportunity to solve problems, co-produce and make better sense of the use of data.  

The Hack-and-Learn is a two-week online event where participants will have the chance to choose from a selection of data-related challenges set by our team at the Government Outcomes Lab and our partners. 

While some data enthusiasts might enjoy doing the coding and data wrangling, others might prefer researching, writing and tackling policy issues around the project. Those interested in graphic design can also help out by creating stunning data visualisations.  

This summer's Hack-and-Learn sessions will be co-hosted by INSPER, University of Cape Town’s Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Ashoka University’s Centre for Social Impact & Philanthropy

Kick off session slides and recording

Session recording

Listen to the audio recording of the session.

The challenges

  1. The pipeline challenge: For the last Hack-and-Learn in March, Team 12 built a series of variables and data definitions for our pipeline of upcoming projects. This time, we want to play around with some real data from early design stage projects. We will populate our previous variables and produce some basic data visualisations so we can show how our pipeline would look like. 
  2. Social outcomes and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): Building on our existing sankey diagram created at the last Hack-and-Learn, we will be honing in on the data to select a particular policy sector and focus on the social outcomes metrics of projects within the area. The analysis will be based on SDGs alignments and regional differences. In particular, we'll be asking ourselves: Which SDGs are being targeted in Latin America, Africa and Asia? Which SDGs are not target at all? Why these type of contracts seem to be better at tackling certain SDGs?
  3. Pilot projects and scale ups: Sometimes practitioners decide to run pilot projects on a smaller scale and test whether it's sturdy enough to be scaled up. This challenge will address the analysis of pilot and scale up projects and seek to answer this question: How do you know when a project has the power to scale up and go bigger?
  4. What is next?: Contribute to the expansion of data around outcomes-based contracting! There is a vibrant community of practitioners who are looking at the future of social outcomes contracting. We will look into the new types of contracts and bonds that will be prominent in the medium and long term future and seek to produce a typology of outcomes based contracts that would guide a potential expansion of our current Impact Bond Dataset to a broader Outcomes-based Contracts Dataset. 
  5. CSR Data Synchronisation exercise: The Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy (CSIP) has recently been collated funding data on corporate social responsibility. This challenge invites people seeking to learn the basics of data management and data analysis to bring about synchronicity among the datasets and collate all historical data into one big database. 
  6. Revisiting COVID Impact Data for Sectoral Analysis of the Impact of COVID-19 on NPOs: As part of its research mandate, CSIP recently conducted a study on the impact of COVID-19 on the operations of Indian Nonprofit Organisations (NPOs), including impact on regular programmes; recovery; challenges faced; engagement with funders; and modes of operations. We invite participants to do a sectoral analysis of the impact of COVID-19 using the data available. We also encourage you to turn your analysis into a paper/presentation/visualisation. 

Have a different idea of what you would like to explore with a team of data and policy enthusiasts? Please let us know and we will give you 10 minutes from our kick off session. You will pitch your idea and become the leader of your team. 

What we will co-produce 

The aim of the Hack-and-Learn is not just to improve data in the field, but also to share learnings with others. At the end of the two weeks, we will host a Show and Tell session on 9 September 3:30pm BST for each team to share their reflections and outputs. Along with our partners, we will then collate these lessons learnt into a learning report and discuss it at the Peer Learning session on 11 November. Any participant who wants to share their story is welcome to contribute as co-author of the report. 

Any open-source visualisations created over the two weeks will be either published on the GO Lab website or the INDIGO GitHub account.

For our last Hack-and-Learn event, we had teams visualising foreign philanthropy to India, helping American policymakers better understand the link between vaccinations rates and access to health services and investigating whether impact investors were aligning their outcomes-based contracts with the UN SDGs. To learn more about what the teams got up to in March, you can read our the Hack and Learn Technical and Learning Report March 2021 here.

Want your work to be showcased online?

Inspired by the data visualisations developed during our last Hack-and-Learn, we integrate most of the outputs to our website, including our prototype Sankey diagram which examines the relation between social outcomes and SDGs, set up by Hack Team 4.

What GO Lab will do

  • Partner up with universities and research centres around the world to bring all kinds of experience and expertise to the table.
  • Devise 4 engaging challenges that allow participants to analyse and contribute to. 
  • Provide structured datasets, including our global dataset on impact bond projects around the world, an open-source code for the database and visualisations on the GO Lab website and INDIGO account on GitHub. 
  • Support you during your 2-week journey by answering any queries and providing technical assistance through Slack and email during office hours. 
  • Collate the lessons learned with our partners into an INDIGO Hack-and-Learn Summer 2021 Technical and Learning Report. 
  • Organise a fun social online event to celebrate the end of the Hack-and-Learn event.


The International Network for Data on Impact and Government Outcomes (INDIGO) is a community of peers with an interest in sharing data about the design, implementation and evaluation of cross-sector collaborations to address complex social problems. We are interested in fostering a culture of transparency, learning, and capacity development across public, private, and third sectors. In addition to publishing open data and open-source code, we want to explore and highlight opportunities to join-up various open data standards initiatives. (We are collaborating and borrowing wheels -- not reinventing the wheels.)  

The International Network for Data on Impact and Government Outcomes (INDIGO) peer learning group is about building shared culture and standards around data in social outcome-based projects. The group meets quarterly and is a forum for civic tech enthusiasts, policy-makers and other actors in cross-sector partnerships for social outcomes to work together towards better data for better social outcomes. The sessions are run by Eleanor Carter, GO Lab Research Director, and Ruairi Macdonald, GO Lab Research Associate. 

Interested? To join the mailing list and register to our quarterly online meetings, please email

INDIGO is a community of peers from different countries, sectors and policy domains with an interest in sharing data about projects that seek to address complex social problems. You can explore our various tools and datasets available as open data here.  

As an emerging data collaborative, we believe that helping more people share and use quality data will improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of these projects.

Interested in sharing your data or participating in any INDIGO events? Get in touch at to join our mailing list and find out more about our upcoming events.

Interested? Have Feedback? 

We will provide updates, including a call for participants via the INDIGO email list along with our partners. We are also open to comments and suggestions on the above session sequencing and agendas. To join the email list or provide feedback, please email

Hack and learn summer 2021 partner logos