Before setting the arrangements to organize your first corporate hackathon, understand what a hackathon is!
Hackathon is a tech event that can either last for a single day ranging to a week as well. It’s an event where the tech nerds and wizards (programmers, designers, testers) all of them come together.
They mutually form teams and work towards a specific idea or a problem or a product. In today’s era, these hackathons also get contributions from people with marketing, operations and HR background as well.
Hackathon isn’t just about coding and devising a programmed solution for a problem. It also focusses on team building, motivating the employees, tapping the hidden potential of employees and so on.
To make the best out of your first corporate hackathon and to organize it well, we have a few ideas. Check them out:
1. Include all the departments
It’s not necessary to cut down the non-tech teams from your company to take part in one of the most enthralling hackathon events. For a holistic experience, incorporate HR, Marketing and operations department.
Although, the participants from these departments won’t code but may be able to develop logic, help judge the business value of the idea, help in innovation and team building.
2. Offer a diverse set of platforms to choose from
Do not limit the choices for the teams to work on. Offer them an array of product ideas to work on. From designing a web-based solution to a mobile one and to a hardware solution, all must be accepted.
This holds more significance when you allow the teams to work on some original concepts and ideas. With limited choices, the zest of the competition will die soon and the level of inspiration may dropdown.
3. Go global/social with your theme
Step up the level of your corporate hackathon event. Create a buzz and promote it. You can go global and social with the theme of the hackathon to enhance event engagement.
You can organizer multiple small events/seminars around your hackathon to keep up the spirit. Create multiple resources, handouts, and downloadable content, social media content and spread it out.
4. Host a virtual event
Are you a giant MNC thinking of hosting a hackathon or a small startup with multiple remote employees? In both cases, it may not be possible to include all the employees in the event. To overcome that scenario, you can always opt for a virtual event.
This ought to make your event more special and interactive. Hosting online events are a great way to get more people on board from all the locations.
5. Welcome all experience levels
Don’t restrict the hackathons for any age limit. Since it’s the first time you’ll be organizing a hackathon you might want to include people with no coding experience as well. Instead of making it intensely competitive the very first time, give your employees some breathing space and a chance to work as a team.
6. Try prototype challenge
Don’t rush after the full-fledged codes and a running model. Or a working concept. Be more creative. Ask the teams to create a working prototype (even if not the entire build is executed, the judges may get an idea of how this project can be pushed forward).
Prototypes can be tested and improvised and hence your product can be built in an elongated period of time rather than at a go (with thousands of bugs to solve for later).
7. Mentor Help Desk
Don’t leave the participants to get by without any help during the hackathon. Sometimes if a team is stuck, they need a piece of expert advice to get out of the loop and carry on with their challenge. Allot each team a time that can be utilized to brainstorm with the mentors.
Mentors can include the judge panels or tech experts of your firm. Get a mentor help desk to rush towards them and time your questions!
8. Create a hackathon event app
The era of digital communications is a reliable one. Rather than creating hundreds of groups on WhatsApp or channels on slack, create your own hackathon app!
What Hubilo did when they organized their first corporate hackathon last year was they created a new event in their company’s event app and uploaded all the rules of the event, details, team division on the app itself.
The fun part of an event app was also that different teams began uploading BTS images and videos. Using an event app instead of the old school pen and paper also encourages sustainable events.
Corporate hackathons aren’t’ just about coding but also how you enjoy yourself through the entire journey together as a team.
What makes event organizers work effortlessly? Even if it’s a one-day corporate hackathon, event planners and organizers must be equipped with a checklist to save time and remain stress-free. Here’s a sample checklist with the basic must-dos for a corporate hackathon.
✓Decide Judges & judging criteria
✓Equipment (setup projector, in-house app)
✓Invite and Inform (with reminders and follow-ups)
✓Order food and beverages
✓Give reminders to the contestant of how much time they have
If you are planning for more corporate events, here’s a checklist that will get you covered for an effortless event planning experience. Check it out!
By having everything in place before kick-starting with your first corporate hackathon significantly increases the success rate and a promising thorough experience to the participants from which they can learn from and come up with innovative solutions for the problem statement.
So, are you ready to host your first hackathon?