A technology hackathon is a live event where technical programmers congregate over one or a few days to work on a project or solve a particular challenge. Typically, teams compete to create a solution in the fastest and most efficient way, with the winners enjoying a prize (and bragging rights!). An internal corporate hackathon can give you insights you can apply to your business. And an open technical hackathon often aims to solve real-world problems that will improve the community.
Technology hackathon theme ideas
Social impact hackathons can help you find new and efficient ways to improve your community. Groups can compete to find techy solutions for things like poverty, water scarcity, or green energy. Check out these technical hackathon ideas to improve your community:
Tech hackathon idea #1: City planning
When you get a bunch of engineers in one room, problems get solved! Get them talking about the inefficiencies in your city and how you could implement technology solutions to resolve it. Perhaps you’ll get some great ideas for a new public project.
Tech hackathon idea #2: Resource distribution
Some resources are concentrated in just a few areas, but a technical team can engineer new ways of distributing resources in the community and helping those in need. Perhaps it develops into an app that digitises all the resource information to make it easier to distribute.
Tech hackathon idea #3: Green energy
Find a new way to save energy and the environment by getting a group together to brainstorm and build new systems. Your hackathon could be the reason your city or neighbourhood decreases its energy footprint.
Or try these corporate hackathon ideas
Corporate hackathon idea #1: New talent recruitment
Consider inviting some local techies or students to the party and let them show their skills in real-time. Not only will you be able to assess technical skills, but teamwork, communication, and work strategy will be on display for you to develop a new talent pool to choose from.
Corporate hackathon idea #2: Internal
Your work teams could potentially benefit from a little shaking up. This gives people an opportunity to work across teams and discover new synergies that will help push your organisation to new heights.
Corporate hackathon idea #3: New applications and feedback
An internal hackathon is a great way to find new ways to work and new applications for the technology you’re using or creating. Give participants a wider lens with which to solve problems and watch them come away with new ways of doing things and great feedback for current processes.
Here’s how to organise a successful hackathon
Setting up a technical or corporate hackathon requires focus and organisation to make sure all of the components are in place. Not only do you have stakeholders like the participants and judges, but you also have to engage with guests and audience members, sponsors, and partner companies or organisations. Make sure you garner ongoing support by doing the following:
Tip #1: Include all of your teams
Technical engineering and coding teams aren’t the only teams crucial to pulling off a great hackathon. Your HR, Marketing, and PR teams are critical to your hackathon’s success. Garner their input to organise a more holistic event that will make its intended impact.
Tip #2: Engage your community
Think of community members who would be invested in your hackathon and get in touch with them to discuss potential sponsorship or marketing opportunities. This will help to spark excitement for your participants and engage your community. For example, consider partnering with a local nonprofit that supports the sector you’re focussing on, and let them participate or help judge. Or allow a community centre nearby to promote their scholarship program during your event.
Tip #3: Set a clear scope and deliverables
Being clear with participants about the scope of the project and the platforms that can be used in the hackathon is critical to running a successful event. This will make sure your teams stay within the guidelines and participation rules.
Tip #4: Select judges with intention
Consider a diverse array of judges to support your event, both from a professional and cultural background. This will ensure you have a holistic perspective of the talent and a balanced winner profile.
Tip #5: Promote a fantastic prize
While bragging rights are great, your participants should have the chance to win a great prize. You can work with other companies or organisations to raise funds for a cash prize or have prizes donated. Go big with techy things like an Oculus, a drone, Google glass, or a full scholarship to a coding school. Don’t forget to also invest in participation gifts for everyone who competes. Something simple, but also something branded if appropriate.
Tip #6: Select a theme to implement
Whether you are looking to save the planet or find a more efficient way to run your company, make sure the purpose and theme are interwoven throughout all of your communications and promotional materials. Themes could be environmental, non-profit, community-based, or connected to robotics or big data.
Tip #7: Diversify access
Make sure you make access available to people who may not typically be exposed to the scene. Consider hosting a youth group or widening the qualifications for participating. Do what you can to expand the diversity of your event as it will have a positive impact on the variety of solutions developed.
Finally, your technical platform for registrations is also essential. Make sure you provide self-service tools for staff and participants to register and receive updates seamlessly. Eventbrite can help you pull off a fantastic hackathon with a reliable technical platform that will provide a worry-free experience for everyone involved.