A technology hackathon is a live event where technical programmers congregate over one or a few days to work on a project or solve a particular challenge. Typically teams complete to create a solution in the fastest and most efficient way, with the winners enjoying a prize and bragging rights. A corporate internal hackathon will give you some insider insight you can apply to your business. And a technical hackathon will help you solve real world social problems that will improve the community.

Technology hackathon theme ideas

Social impact hackathons can help you find new and efficient ways to improve your community. Groups can compete to find tech-y solutions for things like poverty, water scarcity, or green energy. Check out these options to improve your community:

Tech hackathon idea #1: City planning 

When you get a bunch of engineers in one area, they can plan more than just code. Get them talking about the inefficiencies in your city and how they can build technology solutions to resolve it. Perhaps you’ll get some great ideas for a new public project.

Tech hackathon idea #2: Resource distribution

Some resources are concentrated in just a few areas, but a technical team can engineer new ways of distributing resources in the community and helping those in need. Perhaps it develops into an app that digitizes all the resource information to make them easier to find.

Tech hackathon idea #3: Green energy

Find a new way to save energy and the environment by getting a group together to brainstorm and build new systems. Your hackathon could be the reason your city or neighborhood decreases its energy footprint.

Or try these corporate hackathon ideas

Corporate hackathon idea #1: New talent recruitment

Consider inviting some local techies or students to the party and let them show their skills in real time. Not only will you be able to assess technical skills, but teamwork, communication, and work strategy will be on display for you to develop a new talent pool to choose from.

Corporate hackathon idea #2: Internal 

Your work teams could potentially benefit from a little shaking up. This gives people an opportunity to work across teams and discover new synergies that will help push your organization to new heights. 

Corporate hackathon idea #3: New applications and feedback

An internal hackathon is a great way to find new ways to work and new applications for the technology you’re using or creating. Give participants a wider lens with which to solve problems and watch them come away with new ways of doing things and great feedback for current processes

Here’s how to organize a successful hackathon

Setting up a technical or corporate hackathon requires focus and organization to make sure all of the components are in place. Not only do you have stakeholders like the participants and judges, you also have to engage with guests and audience members, sponsors, and partner companies or organizations. Make sure you garner ongoing support by doing the following:

Tip #1: Include all of your teams

Technical engineering and coding teams aren’t the only teams crucial to pulling off a great hackathon. Your HR, Marketing, and PR teams are critical your hackathon’s success. Garner their input to organize a more holistic event that will make its intended impact.

Tip #2: Engage your community

Think of community members who would be invested in your hackathon and get in touch with them to discuss potential sponsorship or marketing opportunities. This will help to spark excitement for your participants as well. For example, consider partnering with a local nonprofit that provides STEM training to low income students and let them participate or help judge. Or allow a community center nearby to promote their scholarship program during your event.

Tip #3: Set a clear scope and deliverable 

Being clear with participants about the scope of the project and the platforms that can be used in the hackathon will make sure your teams stay within the guidelines and participation rules.

Tip #4: Select judges with intention

Consider a diverse array of judges to support your event. Not just in cultural background, but also in professional background. This will ensure you have a holistic perspective of the talent and a balanced winner profile.

Tip #5: Promote a fantastic prize

While bragging rights are great, your participants should have the chance to win a great prize. You can sponsor with other companies or organizations to raise funds for a cash prize or have prizes donated. Go big with tech-y things like an Oculus, a nice drone, Google glass, or a full scholarship to a coding school. Don’t forget to also invest in participation gifts for everyone who competes. Something simple like movie tickets or gift certificates to a restaurant will do.

Tip #6: Select a theme to implement

Whether you are looking to save the planet or find a more efficient way to run your company, make sure the purpose and theme is interwoven throughout all of your communications and promotion materials. Themes could be environmental, non-profit, community based, or connected to robotics or big data.

Tip #7: Diversify access

Make sure you make access available to people who may not typically be exposed to the scene. Consider hosting a youth group or widening the qualifications for participating. Do what you can to expand the diversity of your event as it will have a positive impact on the variety of solutions developed.

Finally, your technical platform for registrations is also essential. Make sure you provide self service tools for staff and participants to register and receive updates seamlessly. Eventbrite can help you pull off a fantastic hackathon with a reliable technical platform that will provide a worry-free experience for everyone involved. Click here to set up an account and get started hosting your event on the Eventbrite platform.