The perfect way to bring innovative people together to share their groundbreaking ideas is through hackathons. Now more then ever, hackathons are being used to explore anything from the technical universe to advancing the fields of medicine in hopes that group competitiveness and teamwork can create thought provoking ideas. If you are thinking of a way to get an idea developed further, hosting your very own hackathon could be your best bet.
Where do you even start when organizing a hackathon? Below are a few tips that should come in handy when you decide you want to host one:
- What are your goals?
Finding out what your hackathon is trying to embody will help you with the whole entire theme. Think of what you want to accomplish and then define it clearly. Danielle Gould, the founder of Food+Tech, believes that clarity is an essential ingredient for hackathons. “You should make sure to clearly communicate judging criteria and any rules at the start of the event,” Gould said.
- Get lots of people to come
Ok – this may be an obvious one, but the more attendees you have the more likely they will come the following year. Not to mention, they could even bring friends to the following hackathon.
The kinds of people you will want at your hackathon are:
- People who will participate and come up with the ideas
- Sponsors who can create a buzz about the event
But before the actual hackathon it’s a good idea to have a Meetup with the attendees. People get to come up with ideas beforehand and it’s especially a good way to get excited before the event. “People with tech skills in particular are in high demand, so it’s important to reach out to them. If you need scientists, focus on them. Meetups are a great way to get the word out,” Robin Kraft, organizer of EcoHack said. “ It can be really helpful to cultivate a few solid projects ahead of time. That usually comes down to having good project leaders with focused ideas.”
Remember that even if all those who sign up for the hackathon say they will attend – normally 60% show up. Kraft optimistically states, “ I’m definitely guilty of trying to get a large crowd, but dedication and enthusiasm count for more than quantity of warm bodies in the room.”
- Great wi-fi
All the attendees participating are going to need the very best connectivity for your hackathon. Hack Day Manifesto says that 1.5 power sockets are needed for every seat. Make sure that the wi-fi isn’t difficult to get in to, that there is a backup wi-fi, have spare cables/USB drives, and more.
It takes a lot of work to transform a hackathon out of thin air – but it’s amazingly doable. With help, the event should be easeful. For example, Skild’s competition management proudly serves hackathons and has built numerous contest platforms in order to make the competition flow smoothly. It is important to keep hackathons growing so that the world can discover all the potential it encapsulates.