How to Run a Hackathon workshop was conducted at TEAC16 on October 7, 2016 in Ghent. Here you will find the materials and presentation for the workshop, based on five years of experience of Albanian Institute of Science.

Albanian Institute of Science

  • The Albanian Institute of Science (AIS) is a non-profit organization founded in March 2011.
  • Our purpose is to open public sector data and create knowledge that enable information, transparency, and accountability.
  • The organization has also been involved in enhancing the capacity of young people in using new technologies  and digital empowerment
  • We held our first hackathon on December 2011.

What is a hackathon?

An event, typically lasting one to several days, in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming.

The term ‘hackathon’ is a so-called blend word consisting of words ‘hack’ and ‘marathon’. The ‘hack’ part refers to its slang meaning of program alteration but not to the illegal act of ‘hacking’. The ‘marathon’ part refers to the duration of the gatherings.

  • A hackathon is a gathering where programmers together with experts and analysts collaboratively code in an extreme manner over a short period of time.
  • Hackathons are at least a whole day – or over a weekend – and generally no longer than a week.
  • While working on a particular project, the idea is for each developer to have the ability and freedom to work on whatever he/she wants.
  • A hackathon is also known as a hackfest or hack day.
  • We have different types of hackathons : e.g., DataThons and DiploHacks

Why is hackathon a thing?

  • For all of these reasons:
  1. Community.
  2. To learn & teach.
  3. To solve problems.
  4. To create something new.
  5. To meet like-minded people.
  6. To build, because building is fun and rewarding.
  7. To collaboratively push the limits of technology as we know it today
  • But we have to keep in mind that Hackathon is Not a thing for all of these reasons:
  1. To help companies sell their product and/or commission free labor.
  2. To launch and/or fund new or existing businesses.
  3. To earn money and win prizes.

This isn’t to say that the second set of results can’t or mustn’t happen at a hackathon.

But it is to say that they shouldn’t be the focal point. This distinction is important, because hackathons have become pervasive in communities across the globe.

Why run or attend a hackathon?

  • First of all - Community building.
  • Gathering New Ideas
  • Solutions on Important Problems ( ex : emigrants now days )
  • Find and recuit ‘New’ talented People we can work with
  • Learn Something New
  • Create Something New
  • Share and Coperate.

Which companies have regular hackathons/hack days?

•Facebook   •Google   •Yahoo  •Microsoft  •BBC  •LonelyPlanet  •Salesforce  •Zynga  •Research In Motion   •Cloudera   •Zappos   •AT&T Interactive   •NASA   •The World Bank   •Atlassian   •LinkedIn   •Kabam
•Amazon   •OVO Energy

Famous projects born from hack days
  • Barter Li - Discover books around you. Created at Geeklist #hack4good 0.5 in Bangalore. Raised $20,000 on Indiegogo
  • GroupMe - Created at the TechCrunch Disrupt hackathon in 2010. Raised $10.6m in funding. Acquired for $80m by Skype in August 2011
  • Taarifa -Created at Water Hackathon in London in 2011 as a bunch of hackers trying to solve the problem around citizen led water delivery. Grand Prize winner of World Bank Sanitation Hackathon. Accelerated with Geeks Without Bounds via a series of hackathons. Now deployed across multiple locations in Africa with active Open Source community.

How to run a hackathon?

  1. Plan a budget – part of a project or sponsored one.
  2. Set a target group – based on age, community, interest, working profile, etc.
  3. Set a date – recommended:  Saturday
  4. Pick a location – recommended: Innovation Centers
  5. Organization team
  6. Pick a theme
  7. Announce the prize beforehand if you have one.
  8. Moderators and facilitators
  9. Agenda
  10. Invitations
  11. Use Social Media  #TEAC16 #HowToWorkshop #Hackathon
  12. Organize information meetings

See the presentation for the workshop: TEAC16_HowTo_Hackathon.pdf

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