Article

Three things not to do when running a hackathon

Published: 1 August, 2018

sudo GROW Hackathon 2018

We ran our first Agri-Tech Hackathon early this year in partnership with Allia Serious Impact.  It was an intensive weekend that resulted in some very exciting ideas emerging.

A hackathon brings together programmers from different disciplines with specialists providing deep knowledge of the industry. To share the learning points we have invited a number of the participants to talk about their experiences at REAP.

This will include the overall winner and category winner, one of the hackathon experts Aaron Croucher and Richard Corden from our ‘gigabyte’ sponsor BASF.

Such is the interest that we have invited Paul Hughes, Director of Enterprise Support, Allia to give some of his tips about what makes a successful hackathon….and here is what not to do!

Paul Hughes, Allia1) Don’t leave it too late to get organised.... Give yourself enough time to find a venue that will accommodate small groups and larger networking areas.  Also securing sponsors with the right fit always takes longer than you think. Promoting the event to participants requires a number of hits so factor this in as well.  Three months is just about doable but a six month lead time is best

2) Don’t forget your participants are an unknown entity... You need to prepare for a mix of skills and knowledge.  If the promotion was broad then you won’t know much about your participants until they arrive so aim to may the subject accessible and available for all levels – keep it interesting for someone new to the tech as well as a seasoned expert.

3) Don’t forget about the details… it is often the small details that help participants to think, build and create.  So invest in colourful post-it notes, whiteboard pens, flipcharts, blue-tack and ensure there are sufficient extension leads and USB keys.  Have plenty of supplies for any eventuality.

To hear more about the ideas that came out of the session come and hear Paul and the others talk at REAP.

Thank you once again to BASF with their strapline ‘we create chemistry’ – they do indeed, by helping to make the hackathon possible and are also by sponsoring this slot at REAP.