Hackathons: calling ALL creative thinkers (not just coders)

Posted in Vibrant Rural

Through our work in broadband adoption and use in rural communities, we’ve seen and featured a number of tech-related hackathons.  The hackathon model sets the stage for creative minds to collaborative on new and innovative ideas in a short amount of time. While these events have typically been designed for coders interested in generating new programming or software, a recent article in the Harvard Business Review breaks down the basic elements of a hackathon, showing that this type of event is applicable to any group wanting to develop fresh ideas.

1.Stoke the creative mindset.

Hackathons require participants to step out of their normal roles and skill sets.

2. Empathize with customers and get personal.

A promising idea starts with a deep understanding of a specific set of end users — who they are, what they need and why.

3. Ask the right questions.

The question should be aspirational, without prescribing a likely solution, and participants should have the freedom to think of as many ideas as possible — or even to rethink the challenge entirely if new information arises.

4. Prototype and test promising ideas quickly.

After participants pick the one or two most promising ideas, teams can immediately start to plan out potential solutions.

5. Nurture and expand the best ideas.

The most skilled innovators put resources behind their strongest pitches and hone them further after the hackathon ends.

How do you see a hackathon being used in rural communities today? Post below!