Thinking about organizing a hackathon to power up new innovations?
Read these tips to make sure you host a fun, impactful event.
Hackathons have taken the world by storm, happening all over the globe and across many different industries. The events, which typically last between a full day and a weekend, bring together innovative strangers to solve problems and improve our world with technology. Hackathons are for fun, but they can also create important changes to whatever system they address, and they’re starting to have a big impact.
In recent years, hackathons have evolved, transitioning from a stereotypical computer programming weekend filled with a bloodshot eyes, energy drinks, pizza, and software innovations into a real idea vehicle for a variety of industries. Today there are hackathons for medical technology, lifestyle apps, social media innovation, and important social issues — and the list is continually growing.
For instance, a hackathon held by a medical technology group and MIT aimed to tackle the issue of infant deaths from breathing problems. It resulted in the creation of an Augmented Infant Resuscitator (AIR), which, if developed, could save millions of lives. Another example:NASA’s annual hackathon, which is the largest in the world, brings thousands together to develop solutions on Earth and in space. Last year, winners developed an asteroid mapper and a company called Go Lab that develops nanosatellites for a variety of scientific purposes.
Hackathons are often held on college campuses, in high school classes, internally at specific companies, and through random meetup websites in various cities. But most importantly, hackathons combine the expertise of software developers, programmers, entrepreneurs, and digital enthusiasts, who can all create many more ideas by working together than if they worked alone.
If you’ve been thinking of organizing your own hackathon, then read on. Here are six of the most important tips to think about as you’re beginning to plan.
1. Prepare attendees ahead of time
Attendees are the ones that will come up with the ideas, and they are the reason for the hackathon in the first place. If the event is successful, attendees will come back the next year and bring more of their friends. Sponsors are also something to think about — sponsors will generate buzz about the event, and if it is successful, they will come back for a bigger, better event the next year.