Hackathons have been renowned also outside the tech-industry as a secret weapon for disruptive brainstorming. The event branch can also profit from their opportunities. In this piece, we present this new collaboration method and discuss its pros and cons.
A hackathon is a collaborative event arising from the programming scene. People from various backgrounds and with different skillsets meet at a decided location, within a time frame, to create unusual concepts for traditional scenarios. These intense brainstorming sessions, can change existing company standards, work flows and solve insolvable problems. A successful hackathon usually results in the completion of new prototypes, apps or process workflows.
New twist on old concepts- also in the event scene?
Throughout time hackathons have also been renowned outside of the tech scene. This method comes originally from the US, where banks use hackathons in some cases to create new concepts and ideas. Non-tech branches, such as the fashion business, are also very susceptible to hackathons, where own company standards and methods are analyzed in a disruptive way.
For the event industry hackathons can be a useful tool, for example to look at old concepts in a new light. Therefore, we have good reason to look at the pros and cons of this new concept.
Achieve more in a shorter time with hackathons
The most evident benefit of a hackathon is its efficiency, which can bring with it a time limited, project based working event. Within hours, days or even weekends, small teams deal with questions, which ideally provide a whole new way of looking at old methods. The best tasks are usually open questions without precise objectives such as: How can we reach more customers? How can the internal release process become more fluid? Can we look at our main product or core competence in a different light?
In addition to the different approaches, there is usually also a very different and important benefit: Such intensive collaboration events are an ideal breeding ground for sustainable teambuilding, which promotes cross-departmental synergies and a stronger cohesion within the company. Especially in larger companies where the individual departments are often not familiar with each other. On a hackathon meet this will change within a very short time.
Find innovative solutions with a radical change in thinking
Event teams in a company can also use hackathons for their own benefit. Look at your tried and tested concepts in an internal session and consider what can be done differently in the future – and what is still relevant.
Why not go a step further and look at the concept of festivals in a new light, or at concerts, exhibitions and incentives? Especially with regard to sustainability, the joint brain force of a hackathon can create completely new ideas – while solving a few problems which had been considered as unavoidable in the past.
All benefits aside – hackathons cost a lot of time and money
Before you start planning your own hackathon, we should briefly mention a few obvious disadvantages: Hackathons cost money and time. It is not just the cost for location, catering and equipment. To ensure a creative atmosphere, money for the staging must also be accounted for. A hackathon is also an event that needs to be planned and managed. In the case longer events, additional costs must also be provided for lodging for the participants. The work loss of the participants in the day-to-day business must also be taken into account.
Little control over the output
The biggest advantages of hackathons also bring certain risks with them. The organizer has little control over the progress of the individual projects due to the creative freedom available, and must have great confidence in the team. In addition, the output of a hackathon is not always fully usable. If the topic is not appealing enough or too high expectations are placed on the team, a hackathon can also become a belly flop.
All in all, Hackathons are nevertheless an exciting new idea that reveals hidden potential and allows companies to guide their future in a new direction. Those who have the necessary budget and time are well advised to consider such an event for the future.