OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

What hackers are

Hacking is about thinking differently and out-of-the-box. At heart, hackers are creative problem-solvers.

Photo of Bart Hogeveen
1 2

Written by

Sketch 1 (1,500 characters)

A bit of a mish-mash of the contrast between what we think hackers look like vs what they can actually be (professional, female, not a dude in a hoodie) and the idea of the artful hack/bank robbery. The dude in a hoodie who throws code at the problem doesn't get to the vault, but the creative professional analyses the target, assesses strengths and vulnerabilities of the target and then comes with a solution to get in, and out.

What have you learned through this sketching process? (1,000 characters)

I think the challenge is not so much one of visualisation; it's a challenge for 'the experts' to explain either one of categories in complete and compelling terms understandable to laymen. No comparison between a 'cyber issue' and a physical world situation seems to be fit for purpose.

Tell us more about you. (1,000 characters)

This is a joint effort from the team at ASPI's International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) and an illustrator who's been providing cover illustrations for our policy reports. ICPC is multi-disciplinary team of young researchers and analysts. For instance, the team has backgrounds in journalism, IT security, social sciences, international relations, open source data analysis and social media platforms. We've been driving an innovative agenda of thought-provoking empirical research, national and regional capacity-building and pursuing an active media presence. While our focus is on Australia and the Asia-Pacific region, our work is being read and used across the globe, from the US to Europe and East Asia.

Why are you participating in this Challenge? (750 characters)

Creative and innovative techniques are necessary to make some of our most critical cyber issues understandable, visible and tangible. We are consistently trying to find new ways to tackle these issues, both at home and abroad, while providing critical, nuanced and thoughtful policy recommendations. We like the intellectual and creative elements of this challenge. In the office, we've always joked about how tired and hackneyed the hacker in a hoody image is. It's easy to formulate a problem, but coming up with a solution or alternative is easier said than done. We like to be at the forefront of such an effort.

Website(s) (see our reports with the purpose-made illustrations)

What is your experience with the field of cybersecurity?

  • I have considerable experience and/or knowledge in the cybersecurity field.

What best describes you?

  • I’m a cybersecurity professional with an interest in visuals.

How did you hear about this OpenIDEO Challenge?

  • Hewlett Foundation website / social media

Location: City


Location: State / District

Australian Capital Territory

Location: Country

  • Australia

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Dima Boulad

Welcome to the challenge, and thank you for your contribution! I like how you're visualising the mindset of a hacker here. How would you consider pushing this idea further? We've had a large number of very interesting submissions so far and we are going through them one by one in the Review phase. In the meantime, we invite you to browse other submissions and join the conversation around cybersecurity on the platform!