A Bubbler is a facilitated group session designed to surface (bubble up) moments where technology can be helpful. We call those moments “opportunities for technology interventions.” These ideas can be used to seed hackathon projects and can be facilitated without any training or extensive preparation.

An opportunity for a technology intervention is when a problem might be solved using technology. In our Bubblers we often start with, “What keeps you up at night?” or “What’s broken and needs fixing?” A Bubbler is the place where a developer or a designer or a product manager can apply their technological imagination to a solution. But first, we need to understand the problem. That's where the Bubbler comes in.

Our facilitators guide walks you through the process of hosting a Bubbelr with step-by-step instructions.

Why should I hold a Bubbler?


Benefits for Organizer

  • Bubblers are a ready-made event format that doesn't require you to find an outside presenter or expert. It's a turn-key event!
  • Your members socialize and connect: the event is focused on group discussion and brainstorming
  • Learn a way to think about technology problems that make them bite-sized and achievable
  • Discover innovative projects and organizations in your community that you can feature in future events
  • Contribute to the creation of more effective hackathons with achievable outcomes

Benefits for Participants

  • A great event format for socializing and networking. People get talking!
  • Participants share their goals and refine their ideas into practical projects
  • A great way for innovative projects to accept input and collaboration from the experts in your community

What will happen with the Bubbler ideas?


The Bubbler ideas should be submitted directly to Caravan Studios, who will do the hard work of transcribing, processing, and categorizing the ideas for use in future hackathons. Caravan Studios helps shape these ideas and advocates for them at hackathons, promotes them to funders, and in general works hard to get them built into useful tools

You can also use the ideas immediately at a local hackathon.

Duration of event


It usually takes 1 hour to complete a Bubbler , but if you’re short on time it can be done in 30 minutes.

What you need

  • A room with tables and chairs
  • A wall space suitable for sticking sticky notes
  • A bunch of 3X5-sized sticky notes: at least 10 per attendee. (we use these)
  • A bunch of pens: one per attendee
  • Three pieces of 8.5x11 pieces of paper, each in a different (non-white) color
  • Note cards or paper for taking notes (if needed).
  • A way to take photos! Please upload to Flickr and tag “bubbler” without the quotes.

Facilitator's Guide & Slide Deck

This deck uses hidden slides (grayed out in the side bar) for prompts and extra information. To see the facilitator's guide please go to Slideshare and download the deck from the Save option.