Why Should I Go To A Hackathon?

All over the world, people come together for a half-day, day or even weekend to attend these things called “Hackathons”. The etymology comes from the words “hack” and “marathon”, coined in 99', companies would encourage internal tech teams to spend a weekend hacking a problem or idea in the hope of inspiring innovation. These events have come a long way and grown to encompass problem solving and idea generation across all industries, not just in the computer programming sphere!

 Launch22 hosted @Nike and  OpenIDEO  recently for their circular economy hackathon

Launch22 hosted @Nike and OpenIDEO recently for their circular economy hackathon

So, now you have a refreshed idea of what a hackathon is, why are we talking about them and why should you consider going to one?

 

At Launch22, we run something called Hack4Pizza. a half-day hackathon which is a great entry level event to attend in comparison to the 48hr, all nighters which can be somewhat daunting. Not yet convinced? Here’s the rundown.

 

12pm-1pm Start: 

Doors open from 12pm and over the next 20–30mins, a steady stream of designers, developers and general business people make there way in.

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After some networking and a drink to calm the nerves, it’s time for an icebreaker to get everyone warmed up and ready to pitch.

 

Pitch time can be a really exciting time. It’s an opportunity for anyone to make a convincing case for an idea they may have had for a while or something they’ve just thought of.

 

After pitches, everyone breaks into teams by picking the pitch they like the most. A bit of mixing and matching occurs here in order for the teams to be fairly spread with technical talent. We always set a goal that each team should aim for in order to help them align and be judged at the end!

 

1pm-6pm Hack time!

Once in teams, you then have the rest of the afternoon to hack. Teams usually spend the first half hour debating the idea so everyone has a clear understanding of what they are working towards. You may find your idea can pivot into something completely new, or you may stick to the original that was pitched. 

There’s many ways you can tackle the next few hours. the most efficient we’ve found is for the team to develop a customer journey and then get to work splitting the research, design, prototype and deck creation.

 

‘Compulsory drink and snack break’

 

Mentors and advisors will jump in and out of each team to track progress and lend a helping hand if needed.

 

6pm-7:30pm Pitch:

6 hours later… The teams are ready to pitch! Pizza is fresh out the oven and the teams are hungry.

 Pitching one of the ideas — TRAX, “Your mountain pass”

Pitching one of the ideas — TRAX, “Your mountain pass”

Everyone gets 5–10 mins to present the demo with follow up questions from the mentors and audience. After much debate, the mentors will pick their winner and pizza is served!

 

This bring us back to the original question, “Why should I attend a hackathon?”

 

Roundup: 

DO YOU WANT TO BUILD A NETWORK ?— These events are a fantastic way of allowing you to build a useful network of creative people, it’s a great environment to meet new talent rather than at a formal and usually, awkward networking event. 

DO YOU WANT TO PITCH YOUR IDEA? — How many opportunities do you get to have a whole team work on your business idea? 

DO YOU LIKE WINNING PRIZES? — There’s usually great prizes up for grabs, from free workspace to investments!

DO YOU LIKE TO REFRESH YOUR WORK ?— Hackathons are a great opportunity to get out of your usual working routine, whether you are a freelancer or employee, a mixup of work environments can inspire more creative thinking and motivation

DO YOU LIKE FREE FOOD! ?— Of course, a hackathon wouldn’t be a hackathon were it not for all the free food and drink on hand. That’s surely worth the trip over alone!

 

>> IF so, sign up for Launch22’s Hack4Justice here! <<