Best Ideas and Tools to Organize a Hackathon

Solving problems is tough. 👷‍♀️

Solving them in a short amount of time without any resources or constraints is even tougher. That's where virtual hackathons come into play. Virtual hackathons are events that challenge users to solve a problem in 24 hours using nothing but their creativity and imagination!

They are a great way of collaborating with software developers, marketers, designers, and other experts for a short period on any goal. There are many reasons to run an online hackathon and use this type of process for business development, but the biggest reason is that it's cheaper than traditional methods and easily accessible.

Businesses can execute these projects by utilizing people in different time zones or even being remotely led. As a result, the companies get more than they would for work that could have been completed in less time if they were just sending one person to do it on-site while collaborating across tables. Using a hackathon platform is also a faster, more efficient, and stress-free way of hosting a hackathon.

Essentials of an Online Hackathon 👍

While essentially following the same principle as traditional hackathons, virtual hackathons are far more accessible and inclusive. They are often open to individuals who may not live in the same area or have access to a physical space for collaboration.

Virtual hackathons can be hosted online, allowing participants anywhere in the world to participate and contribute without having them physically present at an event location. To ensure they're effective, here are three essentials you need to focus on:

Create a shared space

To run successful virtual hackathons, a common space needs to be set up so that the feel of a physical hackathon can be recreated. This is often done in one or more chat rooms, where people go during their free time and talk about what they're working on with others.

Here's what you should try out:

Video conferencing tools: Tools like Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Skype can be used to set up a space for group discussion and can also be used as the primary way of communicating during the hackathon. The Zoom Rooms website provides many templates for different types of conversations (like brainstorming or presentations) so that you have an appropriate chat room ready when needed instead of creating it yourself. For example, if your team is located in different offices worldwide, you can use this chat app to set up a conference room and have all team members join from any location.

Group chats in Slack: Team members can create a chat room in Slack to share files and get work done as a team. Members can also use Slack to set up different channels for each project. However, we suggest using Slack with caution as it can be distracting and time-consuming if misused by too many team members.

Google Docs: These tools are often used in remote work situations, but they also work great during a hackathon set to share files or collaborate on presentations or Slideshare decks. Slack will also alert you when someone else is working on a Google Doc and vice versa so that it's easy to stay in the loop with all team members' work! These apps facilitate virtual brainstorming sessions, project management, and even virtual meetings. In addition, team members can edit and update a document in real-time and see each other's changes.

TAIKAI is a virtual hackathon platform that makes hosting virtual hackathon events easier. Talk with us today, we are here to help you with the process.

Ensure the hackathon is fun 🤪

Make sure there are enough breaks for people who need them - and try to make your breaks fun! You'll need to be creative with the kinds of break activities you choose, but these are some ideas:

  • End each day by playing an interactive game to bring everyone together and have fun.

  • Movie night using Zoom Room or Netflix Party

  • Icebreaker activities that help people get to know each other

  • Laughter exercises that help everyone relax and have a good time

From hackathon ideas to execution

Once you know the theme for the hackathon, create a list of potential ideas that you might want to work on there are related to the goal of your hackathon. Next, assemble your team for the hackathon and make sure everyone knows their role during the event according to their strengths or expertise.

Then, outline how you plan to execute your idea, including who is responsible for which parts. Finally, make sure you have enough time and resources to execute your idea.

Finish the outline by listing all of your dependencies and any external resources you might need to build your idea. Add a time estimate for each task in the project plan, including how long it will take to assemble your team. 

Decide if what you have written is realistic and achievable:

  • Is there enough time? Is anything unrealistic?

  • Is there anything missing? Do you need any additional resources or people to make this happen?

Lastly, test your hackathon idea by creating a quick prototype that you can show off to receive feedback from others, including mentors for the event. If possible, hold a meeting with your team to confirm the plan.

Final Thoughts

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 :)

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