A collaborative event; encouraging teams to come together and build solutions
Contributed by

Nick Woods

Published April 05, 2022

What Is Hackathon?

A hackathon is an event where teams get together for a short period of time to collaborate on a chosen topic. This event gives participants an opportunity away to be creative in an open collaborative environment, working rapidly with others towards a shared common goal.

Hackathons give participants the opportunity to explore, discover and tackle problems that perhaps usually the team would not have the time or resources to look into. This event can be thought of as the start of a journey in tackling those problems, supporting honest and open conversations.

“Hackathon is a word creation of the words hack(-ing) and marathon. In this context, hacking stands for the development of software- or hardware-solution and the marathon describes the format, which is a 1–3 days lasting event.” (Schälchli)

Why Do Hackathon?

  • Harnesses creative problem solving
  • Unmatched knowledge gain over a short period of time
  • Gives the foundations to creating an open working environment
  • Provides a space for participants to explore interests
  • Creates an environment for exploration and discovery
  • An engaging way of working
  • Can involve a wide audience

If your team enjoys collaborative working sessions, mobbing on challenges; hackathons could be a great approach of working together and unlocking synergy across teams.

How to do Hackathon?

Below, a suggested Miro template can be found which utilises various other practices that can be found in the Open Practice Library.

Suggested Agenda

Below you can find a suggested agenda for a one day hackathon.

Previous Day:

  1. Team Building Social - quiz or similar activity

Hack Day:

  1. Energiser
  2. Brief
  3. Lean Coffee
  4. Pairing & Mobbing Setup
  6. Working Session One
  7. BREAK
  8. Working Session Two
  9. Presentations
  10. What's Next

Suggested Practices

Below you can find the suggested practices and tools to take advantage of during a Hackathon.

What do I need?

  • A Facilitator

  • Participants

  • Miro (or similar) for virtual environments

  • In person environment:

    • Writing utensils for all participants (markers are easier to read from a distance)
    • Sticky notes (any medium size)
    • Time keeping device
    • Wall surface or table

How to use it?

One of the key suggested elements to a hackathon event is the Lean Coffee. This practice enables participants create, plan, and prepare the topics in an open environment. Additionally, within the Lean Coffee, ways of working is highlighted and results in participants grouped together in pairs or mobs working towards a shared common goal.

The other practices that have been included in the suggested agenda work as great complimentary pieces to the overall search for team discovery. The Miro template demonstrates how each practice works together to build an engaging team event.

Look at Hackathon

Links we love

Check out these great links which can help you dive a little deeper into running the Hackathon practice with your team, customers or stakeholders.

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