• Great tips to organize an hackathon

    As an expert in hackathons after having organized more than 60 hackathons throughout Europe, Convidencia has listed some tips that can be very useful if you plan to organize your own hackathon. In fact, the month of April is a really good month to plan your hackathon, did you know that?

     

     

     

    So here is a selection of some important things your must know in order not to make mistakes and to match your participant’s expectations.

     

    1/ DEFINE YOUR OBJECTIVES

     

    Organizers usually have several goals for their hackathons. It’s important to know that obvious goals are to develop visibility, recognition, credibility, legitimacy of organizers, etc.

     

    Nevertheless your have to know that the goals for organizers are always different from participants’. Organizers have to communicate the right content on the right channel to convince participants to join to their event.

     

    To meet the participant’s expectation, you have to know that the common goals expected from participants are the following ones :

    • Create stuffs
    • Learn new skills
    • Get experience
    • Have fun
    • Meet other enthusiasts
    • Network with professionals
    • Collaborate with solution-oriented team mates
    • Get opportunities like jobs, projects, contacts, customers, investors
    • Win a competition
    • Achieve something.

     

     

     

    2/ THE THEME

     

    The number of events accelerates rapidly. The comparison and competition between events has become more and more common. Having a specific theme is important to differentiate your hackathons with others. But, you have to know that planning a hackathon on a specific theme makes the preparation harder.

     

    In fact, the more specific the theme is, the more effort is required to communicate about the event. Moreover, recruiting participants might be more difficult if your need to explain the nuances and details of the theme. Organizers need also to target experts and people sharing the same interest. Then you need to adapt the communication channels and content to convince them to join the event.

     

    In a nutshell, here is what you have to do :

    • List the challenges of your events and communicate them to potential participants before the hackathon.
    • Use this list in your communication plan to leverage the quality level of ideas and projects suggested by the participants.
    • Use ideation tools to collect participants’ ideas, so they can improve their final proposition when the hackathon starts.

     

     

    3/ THE LOCATION

     

    The purpose of hackathons is to boost co-creativity, agility, collaboration and prototyping during one single event. Therefore, organizers tend to choose places that fit the same mindset. Oftentimes, participants stay in the same venue during the entire event. That means they need to be able to work peacefully in teams, eat and drink, and sometimes sleep on site. Organizers want to make sure logistics and event management run smoothly. Usually, the places where hackathons are run are large spaces able to welcome 50 people during 2 days.

     

    Here are some key criteria that you should take into account to find a good location :

    • Venue capacity
    • Wi-Fi and network coverage
    • Showers
    • Catering
    • Surroundings
    • Acoustic
    • Either one single space of different offices to gather participants in teams. Based on experience, one large space is often better for the participants’ experience, as they can see each other working, and they can network easily.
    • The possibility of moving tables and furniture in ordre to organize their own work environment.
    • A space big enough to allow team to have at least 5 meters distance from each other.

     

     

     

    4/ THE NAME OF YOUR EVENT

     

    Every hackathon is unique. Like any other public event, hackathons need to be promoted, branded, and spread to different channels and media. Therefore, a proper brand, and often a proper name is given to the event.

     

    A great name has to match the following criteria :

    • No one used the name in Belgium before (check it on Google).
    • People can spell it.
    • People can say it out loud.
    • People can remember it because it conveys some meaning.
    • It doesn’t have any negative connotations.
    • It does not limit a potential next edition.
    • The domain name is still free.
    • It is catchy enough.