The word ‘hackathon’ is composed of two recognisable parts:
The purpose of a hackathon is to develop a basic idea into an operational concept (or prototype) as fast as possible. After the hackathon, the results can be refined if the concept is promising enough. A piece of advice? Start with a single event to familiarise yourself with the methodology and the obtained results. More even, you can ultimately integrate this methodology into your everyday functioning (in the form of design sprints), yielding even better results!
Even before you start planning the hackathon, you must answer an important question: what do you wish to achieve? Innovation is the most obvious goal. Here, the participants start from an idea and develop a working concept within 48 hours. Hopefully, the company can use the results going forward.
A hackathon is also the perfect way to discover new talent. By allowing external participants, you attract profiles with a genuine passion. Someone who is willing to work for 48 hours on end, entirely for free, is clearly motivated to do the work. The results will then tell you just how talented that person is.
And finally, you can easily regard a hackathon as a strong team building session. Colleagues are completely absorbed by something they want to work on. Play your cards right and your whole company will be pervaded by an atmosphere that is very hard to create under normal circumstances.
But perhaps you have a secondary goal? Whatever the case may be, it is important to ask yourself this question in advance, so you can create a transparent framework for the hackathon. Use the tips below to further elaborate your hackathon.
Enter SIMO, the four components of an efficient hackathon. It stands for:
If participants have to set up servers when the hackathon is already underway, then you risk losing valuable time. Make sure all the structural elements are in place beforehand. Communicate this clearly to the participants, as well as how the hackathon is organised. This way, they can concentrate fully on their project.
Working for 48 hours on end is very taxing mentally. More even, both motivation and creativity can suffer. Fortunately, this can be avoided:
Meanwhile, Duke and Grace has built a respectable track record and the organisation of a hackathon, both for customers and our own staff, is right up our alley. Feel free to contact us and benefit from a wealth of knowledge and experience. A hackathon is a budget-friendly way of using an original initiative to innovate, recruit fresh talent and organise a fantastic team building event.
Bart De Waele
Founder & Executive Board Member