Hackathons have received massive support from the tech community and its success has led to several types of transformations of this idea. They were originally oriented to bring in experts from outside the company to solve an internal or an external challenge. The format quickly evolved from a physical event to online one. Upon seeing the success of hackathons, traditional industries have followed suit and now hold hackathons of their own. Now, hackathons are a worldwide phenomena and come in many shapes and forms.
Let us explore and unpack common hackathon formats.
Based on Orientation:
- External Hackathons:
What are they?
Events aimed at the external community, including developers, designers, and other professionals from different companies or institutions. Often used for brand building, innovation, and sourcing fresh ideas.
A wonderful avenue to tap into the collective intelligence of a larger community, fostering collaboration and pooling diverse talents.
- Internal Hackathons:
What are they?
In-house events tailored for a company’s employees to foster innovation, team building, and internal problem solving.
An excellent strategy to unleash in-house talent, boost employee morale, and cultivate a culture of innovation and collaborative problem-solving.
Based on Format
- Traditional Hackathons:
Events where participants work together over 24-48 hours, focusing on a wide range of challenges. Key Takeaway:
A dive into intense teamwork and the process of turning budding ideas into reality within a tight schedule.
Data-centric events emphasizing data analysis and visualization. Key Takeaway:
A playground for data enthusiasts, offering insights into understanding patterns and crafting them into actionable solutions.
Coding-focused events that challenge programming and algorithmic prowess. Key Takeaway:
An avenue to refine programming skills and engage in competitive problem-solving.
- Hardware Hackathons:
Centred around creating or enhancing physical devices. Key Takeaway:
An opportunity to understand the blend of hardware with software, focusing on design and real-world applications.
- Virtual Hackathons:
Online challenges that break geographical barriers and welcome global talents. Key Takeaway:
A demonstration of the power of digital platforms, fostering international collaboration and idea exchange.
Based on Industry / Theme:
- Healthcare Hackathons:
Events tailored to address challenges in the healthcare sector. Key Takeaway:
Understanding the intricate landscape of healthcare and how tech innovations can revolutionize patient care.
- Finance Hackathons:
Focused on fintech, banking, and associated challenges. Key Takeaway:
A lens into the financial world and how technology can optimize processes and enhance user experiences.
- Diversity Hackathons:
Championing inclusivity and giving a platform to underrepresented groups in tech. Key Takeaway:
A realization of the potential and value that diverse viewpoints bring to the tech landscape.
- Open-Source Hackathons:
Events promoting contributions to or development of open-source projects. Key Takeaway:
A deep dive into community-led projects and the philosophy of collaborative knowledge sharing.
Hackathons, through their myriad forms and focuses, offer a rich variety of application areas. The success of Hackathon format has proved them to be an amazing platform for growth, innovation, and collaboration. We are seeing a trend of adoption of this format across more industries, and we will leave that to a future article. These dynamic incubators of ideas and solutions are redefining how we think, work, and solve real-world challenges and showcase human ingenuity. Whatever your vantage point—participant, organizer, or curious observer— the hackathon, is bound to leave you in awe.