Here is a new word to add to your vocabulary: Hackathon. A Hackathon is a combination of the words ‘hack’ and ‘marathon’ and refers to events during which developers and designers meet to develop IT projects. Don’t think it’s a geek thing just for alternative projects. Quite the opposite! An increasing number of brands are using these events as opportunities for creativity and innovation.
As it is particularly suited to looking for new mobile services, usage in terms of the digitalisation of points of sale and contextual marketing, it is a method which makes it possible to generate a lot of ideas and illustrate them concretely in record time.
The benefits of a Hackathon – a quick and cheap way to innovate
A Hackathon worthy of its name has its own rules. Over a short period of time (up to 3 days in general) teams are put together to answer a question. How can we use freely accessible data to create a useful web project? Is it possible to create a mobile application for the connected home of the future? What should an application designed to simplify life for holiday-makers in the mountains look like (SQLI won this ‘highest Hackathon in the world’ in Val d’Isère)? There are so many questions which require reflection and skills which are sometimes difficult to find through an internship offer or traditional job.
But the benefit of a Hackathon is not restricted to the financial side of things.
- For participants it is a way to learn more and meet other professionals. In addition to the competitive spirit, and glory in the event of success, there are motivating rewards as well. It might involve money or gifts, but it could also be a position in an incubator or even being hired.
- For organisers, a well-prepared Hackathon is a guarantee of leaving with new ideas and new points of view on the issue in question. R&D is given a boost! It is also a way to meet talented individuals who might become future employees, while reinforcing the attractiveness of the company at the same time.
The Hackathon has all the characteristics needed to be the lower cost innovation solution which enables companies to quickly move forward on an issue which is nevertheless technical.
The trap to avoid: making a Hackathon an event for just developers. In order for the work produced and the POC (Proof Of Concept) to have meaning and be user-friendly, include UX designers and graphic designers in your team. They are crucial for identifying uses!
Yes, but organising this type of event requires preparation.
Organise your own Hackathon !
The number of Hackathons organised is constantly growing. It is not just Facebook (a great fan of the genre) or large structures which can organise this type of event. What about if you have a go too? Plan the event in advance to get the most out of it. It’s not about bringing skilled individuals together in a room without a specific objective.
- Define an objective: your Hackathon’s ‘pitch’ must be summed up in one strong sentence or paragraph. Present your overall objective and begin to outline what in particular you want to see carried out during the event (an application, a website, a template, etc.);
- Set up the project: don’t overlook the practical side of the Hackathon – setting up the equipment. Participants will come with their laptop and other equipment. You can also provide them with access to some software or lend them useful solutions. Think about the integration of everything to avoid dragging out the time spent setting up the development environment.
This 3-day event is not so simple after all! It’s not just a few networked computers and some pizzas. To organise YOUR Hackathon, SQLI’s experts have designed myHackathon– a turnkey approach to accelerate your innovation.
We set up sessions which mix your decision-makers and our ergonomics experts, designers, and web and mobility experts to identify the key uses and design your POCs together.
Are you ready to take up the challenge?