Op-ed20 Unique and innovative ideas for organising Hackathon

20 Unique and innovative ideas for organising Hackathon

When you start to organise an event, you have to take into account many factors. If we want it to be successful, we will not only focus on the space to celebrate it, the content, or the invitations. There are other keys that we must not forget and that are essential to make the execution more straightforward and more successful. But first of all, do you know what Hackathon is? No! Don’t worry here is the answer!

What is Hackathon?

Hackathon is one of the most used words in recent times in the world of entrepreneurship, especially technology. Surely you have read it in some online medium or have seen publications on social networks in which they invite you to participate in this type of meeting. Do you know what a hackathon really consists of? The first thing is to explain where this sound word comes from. Well, as you have surely imagined, the Hackathon comes from the union of two words: hack and marathon. From what is seen in a simple way, it is to hack for an extended period of time. It is a web development marathon; a meeting of programmers whose objective is the collaborative development of software. For this reason, hackathons are an exciting experience for the educational community, since they promote collaboration, teamwork, and are aimed at solving problems. The entire work process becomes a way of learning.

Now we will come on the topic and here are 20 Unique and innovative ideas for organising Hackathon. Read on –

1. Choose a Strategic Location

The venue of an event such as a hackathon must be handpicked. It is imperative that it is feasible for the participants to spend the night there; of course, this only applies to an event of two days or more. Besides, entry and exit at night need to be facilitated.

The comfort of the place is also a point that must be taken into account by the organisation of the event. Tables and chairs should provide maximum comfort, as the participant will be seated in front of the computer for hours.

Pay attention also to the quality of the internet connection and power points (sockets or power filters) that the location offers.

2. Create An Organised Schedule

A well-organised and recorded schedule is essential for the event to take place in the best possible way.

It is suggested that you should have at least three months of organising the Hackathon in your pocket. In the first month, the focus must be the look for companions and sponsors.

In the second month, publicising the event should be a priority, do it by digital means, but don’t forget the graphic material.

In the month of the event, focus on getting more registrations, and helping those who have left the completion of their registrations until the end.

As for the schedule during the event, it is important to have a detail, more or less according to the following scope:

  • Opening: Dynamics to assemble teams and pitch ideas;
  • Marathon: Development of projects with the support of the support team;
  • Presentation: Demonstration of projects and evaluation;
  • Closing: Delivery of awards and final considerations.

An event like a hackathon is undoubtedly difficult to organise, but very satisfying when successfully completed.

3. Try Specific Theme

It is best to create a hackathon around a specific theme so that attendees know how to improve what they can expect from the event, and so that it is also easier to attract specialists recognised as a jury.

4. What Budget Do You Have?

When you are clear that you want to organise a hackathon, the first step is to decide what will be the budget available to start the event. Deep down, hackathons are informal and flexible events, as all you really need is a good space, food and drinks during the Hackathon, and a good internet connection. However, for the event to be truly a success, it must be borne in mind that there will also be branding expenses (brochures to be dispensed at universities, room layout, and so on), the final prize, and the promotion of the event.

For large hackathons, companies sometimes decide to collaborate together or get sponsorship for their event. Sponsors provide cash, space, food or T-shirts, with the expectation that they will get something at your event (such as the possibility of improving the Employer Brand of your company, hiring attendees, marketing their product, etc.), but also it is very common to distribute merchandising (in the form of discounts or product samples) to attendees.

5. Hackathon Registrations

As with disclosure, registration for your Hackathon must also be done over the internet. For that, use a good event management platform! Thus, you can actively control ticket sales, manage participant data, and integrate your event with the other communication channels of your company or business.

To make selling hackathon registrations easier, you can invest in strategies such as:

  • Integration of your event page with your social networks or website;
  • Creation of promotional tickets or separation by lots;
  • Discounts for group purchases;
  • Offer diversified payment options (credit, debit …);
  • E-mail marketing and inbound marketing actions.

6. Surprise With Your Event And Make a Difference

It is time to think about the staging. To surprise the attendees! Once you have studied the objectives and have the idea of ​​the place where the event will be held, it is time to think about how the staging will be developed in the most creative way possible.

To make a difference, you have to create a unique experience with your event and communicate the philosophy of your brand. Not only will they communicate the words, but everything will influence, from lighting to invitations, through corporate colours, space, online diffusion, and web page. Everything will be part of the communication of your event.

You have to think about how to create a link with your audience and get them to interact with your brand during all phases of the event. As soon as you have the venue closed to be sure to launch an informative webpage on the event details that are as attractive and clear as possible.

7. Define the Rules

When defining the rules, it is important to follow some good practices to maintain the competitiveness and motivation of all participants.

  • Limit the use of open-source frameworks, as using paid libs can bring some kind of advantage;
  • Use at least one Google tool for developers in your Hackathon;
  • Set a minimum and maximum team size so as not to cause problems in the awards;
  • Choose whether the teams will have the option to disclose their projects or not; that is, whether they will be private or public to the other participants.

8. Invest in Event Communication

Most hackathons websites and social networks only advertise the event and offer options for registration, and after the event, there is no satisfaction, such as disclosure of the winners and information about how the event occurred and interesting facts.

Therefore, always take photographs of the event, make reports through blog posts, publicising the projects, and also encourage the participants themselves to share the event on social networks using a specific hashtag.

9. Have a Good Support Team

For a well organised and executed event, it is very important that there is a competent support team to distribute tasks and responsibilities.

The presence of programmers in this team is strategic, and they can help participants with initial implementations, information, and documentation. What cannot happen is that this person writes codes or has an intense dedication to just one team.

It is also important that there are agents to take care of food and communicate with the participants.

10. Food During a Hackathon?

It is best to offer a continuous catering service because not all participants will be able to stop at the same time since they work with a very tight deadline. Also, try to offer healthy options during the event and keep in mind the issue of food allergies and intolerances.

11. Attention in Evaluating Projects

It is good to disclose before the event, at least in a general scope, the hackathon evaluation criteria.

For example, will originality be evaluated? Technology? Code quality? Usability? Disclose this to the participants to know your focus, after all, it is a marathon, and a testable product will have to be ready at the end of the program.

12. Think About The Marketing And Advertising of Your Event

While you are in the whole process of organisation, design a poster that includes the date, time, place, guest of honour, name, and theme/slogan of the event. Prepare a preliminary version first, and then you will shape it. See what social networks you are going to use to advertise it.

Another quite important aspect that you must take into account to achieve a successful event is to promote it through social networks since it is the only way to bring the celebration of the event to a large number of interested people.

Surely now you will be thinking about the social network Facebook to promote the event, but you cannot forget the second fastest growing social network called Instagram, and also the Twitter microblogging social network.

As you may already know, on the Facebook social platform, you should use the Facebook Ads tool and invest money to increase the reach and thus attract more attendees for the event.

13. Have an Emergency Plan

Another quite important thing to do when organising an event is to have an emergency plan or a Plan B because there is always some chance that the event will go wrong or something unforeseen.

The great advantage of having an emergency plan or plan B is that it avoids having bad moments in the event, and therefore, guarantees to be prepared for it if it happens.

This totally does not mean that you should be a pessimist when you organise the event, on the contrary, it is smart to know how to anticipate situations so that they do not catch you unexpectedly without knowing what to do or how to act, therefore it is vitally important to have a plan B.

When you make a plan B for the event you must take into account any situation or task but always with common sense, that is, you do not have to contemplate all the possible situations but the most important ones.

14. Broadcast Your Event in Streaming

Streaming is another digital communication tool, and most importantly, it destroys the geographical barrier. Those people who cannot go because they are not in the city where it is held (or for any other reason) can connect and see it as if they were there. In addition, we can record the streaming and later broadcast it on social networks.

For this, you must take into account that:

  • The internet signal is good. It is advisable to test before the day of the event to ensure that the broadcast is good.
  • Choose a broadcast channel, such as the YouTube channel of the company or organisation where the event takes place. Youtube is a well-known platform, and it makes it easy for you to share content on other platforms.
  • Make it clear to users before the event where they can watch the streaming. If they can’t be accessed quickly and easily, our streaming may not do much good.

15. Attractive Trophies And Prizes

We recommend handing out a variety of prizes to all hackathon participants (and not just the winning team), such as exclusive products, free training, Amazon vouchers, the ability to participate/work in the organising company upon completion of the Hackathon, the creation of a startup to start the idea, etc.

Cash prizes are also usually given, but keep in mind that its motivating effect is less, the amount will have to be high (to be attractive), and it is not so easy to distribute it to different prizes (such as the most creative team, the more professional team, etc.)

16. Review The Day of The Event

Arrived the day of the event and with your nerves on the surface of the tension, you should only focus on checking that all the planned things are being carried out according to the previous planning that you carried out.

A very frequent mistake that some event organisers usually make is that when the day of the event arrives, they do not stop sweating and running stressed from one side to the other, so never make this serious mistake because it will be the result of poor planning and organisation.

In short, the organiser will only have to do three things:

  • Check that all delegated tasks are being done well.
  • Make sure that clients and assistants are well served.
  • Serving VIP guests.

17. Request Feedback

Once the event is done, it is important to get feedback from the participants. This can be done after the celebration through a survey or form, where aspects such as logistics, speakers, locations, experiences, and the work of the organisers are evaluated. This information helps avoid mistakes and improves the quality of future events.

18. The days prior to the event. That you have to do?

  • Make a “checklist” with everything you have to do so that it doesn’t slip away.
  • Verify that everything is going “smoothly” and prepare a “plan B” in case of unforeseen events.
  • Check with the team that everyone is clear about their functions.
  • Update social networks and blogs.
  • Send reminders for the latest registrations.
  • Check all the confirmations and records of the people who will attend.
  • Confirm everything with the sponsors.
  • Reserve the catering according to the capacity.
  • Have all the accreditations ready and use an APP to streamline them.
  • If you have a reference still unconfirmed, contact him in a personalised way.
  • Go to the venue to review the latest details.
  • Perform sound tests.
  • Prepare “details” for guests and speakers.
  • Have a fixed area for “networking”.

19. Take An Assessment And Be Grateful

Even if the event is over, you have to remain consistent. One last effort left! You have to measure the impact that the event has had:

  • Evaluate the impact of the hashtag, with tools like Tweetbinder.
  • Analyse the behaviour and feedback from the guests.
  • Take surveys on social networks.
  • Check that all financial issues are closed and resolved.
  • It offers material to the attendees, such as recordings of the presentations.
  • Make a thank you video that briefly summarises the event.
  • Publish a short story through tools like Storify that summarises the activity on Twitter.
  • Viralize the articles that talk about you in other blogs.
  • Send personalised thanks to sponsors, press, speakers, and the team for making the event possible.
  • Post the photos on your website and on social media.

20. Participate in Your Own Event

Now most importantly, participate in your own event! Take a moment to look at your work and enjoy the success of your event. There is no greater satisfaction than that of a job well done.

Hi! I'm Aniket & I have 3+ years of experience as a content writer. My articles have SEO practiced, well-researched, and easy-to-understand contents. Reading knowledgeable stuff, watching documentaries, and solving sudoku make me more productive.

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