The future of Hackathons: 10 trends to watch in 2023

Hackathons are becoming increasingly popular as a platform for fostering innovation, creativity, and collaboration. As we look ahead to 2023, there are several trends that are shaping the hackathon landscape.

According to a survey, more than 80% of Fortune 100 companies hold hackathons to drive innovation. Furthermore, more than half of the hackathons are recurring events, indicating that they are a reliable tool for long-term innovation.

Web3, in particular, is rapidly evolving thanks to this kind of innovation challenge. 

As Arabdha Sudhir, VP of Marketing at Halborn (a blockchain security firm), said in a BeInCrypto interview

“Community has always been the pulse of the web3 world. Hackathons are a great hands-on, get-your-processors-together approach to solving a real problem with a time constrain”.

Therefore, it is imperative that DAOs, web3 developers, and other tech talent remain aware of these events now more than ever before.


Table of contents
  1. The increasing popularity of virtual hackathons
  2. The role of artificial intelligence and machine learning in hackathons
  3. The use of open data and API platforms in hackathons
  4. The growing emphasis on social impact and sustainability in hackathons
  5. The trend towards interdisciplinary and diverse teams in hackathons
  6. The use of design thinking and user-centered design in hackathons
  7. The integration of emerging technologies such as blockchain, AR/VR, and the Internet of Things in hackathons
  8. The increasing focus on mentorship and skills development at hackathons
  9. The role of corporate sponsorship and partnerships in hackathons
  10. Exploring the potential of web3 through hackathons


The increasing popularity of virtual hackathons


One trend that has gained traction in recent years is the rise of virtual hackathons. With the pandemic forcing many events to go online, hackathons have had to adapt by moving to a virtual format. 

This has opened up new opportunities for participation, as it allows people from anywhere in the world to participate in a hackathon without the need to travel.

TAIKAI,  a virtual hackathon platform, is one example of the many virtual hackathon platforms that are now available. 

These tools provide organizations and participants with a wide range of features that enable them to effectively organize and participate in virtual hackathons.


The role of artificial intelligence and machine learning in hackathons


Another trend that is gaining momentum is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in hackathons. These technologies are being applied to a wide range of challenges, from healthcare to agriculture to transportation. 

Hackathons provide a platform for developers and data scientists to experiment with AI and ML techniques and come up with innovative solutions to real-world problems. 

Many hackathons are now integrating AI and ML into their event activities, including data challenges, brainstorming sessions, networking events, and other activities.


The use of open data and API platforms in hackathons


Open data and API platforms are also playing a growing role in hackathons, by providing access to an abundance of information that can be used for creating revolutionary applications. 

Open data refers to data that is freely available for use, reuse, and distribution by anyone. It can be sourced from a variety of sources, such as government agencies, research organizations, and private companies.

API platforms, on the other hand, provide a way for different software systems to communicate with each other. 

They enable developers to access data and functionality from other systems and use it in their own applications.

Hackathons that focus on open data and APIs provide participants with the opportunity to build on existing data sets and create new applications that can have a significant impact. 

For example, a hackathon focused on open data might challenge participants to develop an app that uses data on traffic patterns to help people find the quickest route to their destination. 

A hackathon focused on APIs might challenge participants to build a new service that integrates with an existing platform and adds value for users.


TAIKAI is a virtual hackathon platform that makes an online hackathon event much easier to host. Talk with us today or Request a Demo, we’re always here to help :)


The growing emphasis on social impact and sustainability in hackathons


Hackathons are evolving to place a significant emphasis on social benefits and sustainability. These events now incorporate challenges that prioritize climate change, social justice, health and other such issues. 

Participants can use this opportunity to produce projects with a meaningful influence on society and the environment.

There are many different topics that can be addressed at social impact hackathons. Some examples might include:

  • Environmental sustainability: Hackathons focused on environmental sustainability challenge participants to come up with solutions that reduce carbon emissions, conserve resources, or address other environmental issues.
  • Education: Hackathons that urge participants to build innovative solutions to improve educational opportunities, heighten student engagement, and ultimately resolve other education-related dilemmas.
  • Human rights: Hackathons focused on human rights might challenge participants to develop solutions that promote human rights, protect vulnerable populations, or address other human rights-related issues.

Hackathons are a unique opportunity to bring together people of different backgrounds and disciplines to tackle the range of societal issues that exist around the world. 

Through collective creative problem-solving, hackathons have the potential to make huge strides forward in innovation and social impact.


Interdisciplinary and diverse teams in hackathons


In addition to these trends, we are also seeing a shift towards interdisciplinary and diverse teams in hackathons. This trend reflects the growing recognition that diverse perspectives and skills are key to innovation and problem-solving. 

Hackathons that bring together people with different backgrounds and expertise are more likely to come up with creative and impactful solutions. 

Furthermore, hackathons that welcome participants from different genders, races, and ethnicities are more likely to produce innovative solutions that address the needs of diverse populations. 

As such, it is important for hackathon organizers to create inclusive environments where all participants feel welcome and can make valuable contributions. 

This will help ensure that hackathons continue to be a powerful force for social change in the years to come.


The use of design thinking and user-centered design in hackathons


Design thinking and user-centered design are also gaining traction in hackathons. 

These approaches involve focusing on the needs and desires of end users and designing solutions that are intuitive, user-friendly, and solve real problems. 

Hackathons that adopt a design thinking approach give participants the opportunity to apply these principles to the development of new products and services. 

This can be a powerful way to create solutions that have a real impact on the lives of people around the world. 


The integration of emerging technologies such as blockchain, AR/VR, and the Internet of Things in hackathons


Emerging technologies such as AR/VR, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are also starting to make their mark on hackathons. These technologies are providing new opportunities for innovation and are being applied to a wide range of challenges. 

Hackathons that focus on these technologies give participants the chance to experiment with them and come up with new solutions. 

Ultimately, it will be interesting to see how these trends evolve and influence the future of hackathons.


The increasing focus on mentorship and skills development at hackathons


Many events now include mentorship programs and workshops that give participants the chance to learn from experienced professionals and develop new skills. 

This trend reflects the recognition that hackathons are not just about coming up with new ideas, but also about building the skills and knowledge needed to turn those ideas into reality. 

Whether it is through mentorship connections or learning opportunities, hackathons are providing the space for participants to develop their skills and advance their careers. 


The role of corporate sponsorship and partnerships in hackathons


Corporate sponsorship and partnerships are also playing a growing role in hackathons. Many companies are now sponsoring hackathons as a way to identify and support new talent, as well as to collaborate with developers and entrepreneurs on new ideas. 

Hackathons that partner with companies can provide participants with valuable opportunities to build relationships and gain exposure.

👉 Find out why you should sponsor a hackathon


Exploring the potential of web3 through hackathons


Web3 hackathons are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people recognize the potential of blockchain and other decentralized technologies to disrupt traditional business models and create new opportunities for innovation. 

Many web3 hackathons are organized by blockchain companies or communities, and often offer substantial prize money and other incentives to encourage participation.

Web3 hackathons provide a unique opportunity for developers to work on projects that have the potential to make a real impact. 

They also give participants the chance to learn about the latest developments in decentralized technologies and to connect with other developers and experts in the field.


Experience of hosting web3 hackathons

The rise of web3 hackathons reflects the growing recognition of the potential of decentralized technologies to shape the future of the internet and enable new types of applications and services. 

In 2022, TAIKAI hosted and sponsored several web3 hackathons, such as ETH Lisbon, BCN Hack, ETH SP, or SpaghettETH, to name a few.

As these technologies continue to mature, we can expect to see even more web3 hackathons being held in the coming years.


Final Thoughts


Overall, the hackathon landscape is constantly evolving and there are many trends shaping the way hackathons are being held and the types of challenges being tackled. 

By staying up to date on these trends, hackathon organizers and participants can ensure that they are maximizing the potential of these events to foster innovation and drive positive change.


Hosting a hackathon can be challenging on its own.

That’s why at TAIKAI we developed a complete virtual hackathon platform that’s easy and quick to set up.

In a few steps, you can host a hackathon, manage participants, connect with them, live stream your event, form teams, and evaluate submissions - all in one platform.

It’s your turn to drive innovation and engage with your community. Talk with us today or Request a Demo, we’re always here to help :)

Rodrigo Nogueira
Rodrigo Nogueira
hackathonorganizercommunity
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