What is it? A Hackathon is a highly engaging, continuous event in which people in small groups or teams work on the innovation of a product or on a pre-defined problem in a limited amount of time. Hackathons originate traditionally from the software sector but vary in their purpose. Thus, they can be beneficial for problem-solving or creating new ideas in project management.
Objectives: Hackathons help to find different solutions for a problem, to create new ideas, and to motivate and inspire participants. Hackathon events are also great for developing and testing new skills.
Resources needed: You can host a Hackathon online or face-to-face. Depending on the format you need different resources (e.g. Flipcharts, pens, paper, notebooks, online tools like Miro or Trello).
Time: Hackathons last often a few days (1-3 days). But such an event requires time to seek for a venue, for preparing concepts, building teams, and providing resources (hardware, food, beverages).
Suggested number of participants: The participants usually have different professional backgrounds, and you can involve as many participants as you want.
Example of practical application: Hackathons can be useful at the beginning of a project to create new ideas for project proposals, enabling bottom-up and externally collaborative ideation. Alternatively, Hackathons can be also used in the project evaluation phase and help to explore and define follow up projects.
Steps to apply the method:
Hackathons require different steps to getting started. In preparation for the event, we suggest you to decide about the following:
- Objective and the target audience
- Professional background of participants
- Roles and skills required from participants
- Format, date, and venue
- Composition of teams for problem-solving or ideation
Stage when to use this method:
- Project design
- Project evaluation
- Creative Change Hackathon Guide (insert link when uploaded on CC website)
- Virtual scrum board Trello to assign tasks to participants
Visual sample: To learn more about how you can you make the most out of a hackathon, watch this TEDx talk by Angela Bee Chan, some call her “Australia’s Innovation Hacker”.