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How do you organize a virtual hackathon?

by gohar

Virtual hackathons are online events in which participants collaborate on projects. The projects usually have the theme or objective such as “build an online game” or “the project must integrate with our CRM.” The objectives of these events vary from having fun to developing a sense of communities, to sourcing talent and much more. They are also referred to in the form of “online hackathons.”

What is a hackathon?

Hackathons are an event that brings teams together to come up with solutions to complicated problems within brief amounts of time. Hackathons typically last between up to 24 hours and last for one weekend, however hackathons can also be hackathons in mini-sized portions that last just a few hours.

Some hackathon organisations focus on particular topics and offer themes, while other contests have prompts that are open-ended. In general, teams create functional prototypes and designs to showcase at the conclusion of the competition. Judges evaluate entries and award teams that have the most imaginative practical, efficient, and innovative idea or product.

Hackathons connect minds to think and create in a relatively short time. If you can keep the race-like aspect of the hackathon and you keep this spirit.

In terms of shake-ups, it is possible to transform the hackathon further by bringing the entire event to the internet.

How do you organize a virtual hackathon?

While virtual hackathons are more logistics than traditional competitions however, you must still allow plenty of space to prepare and plan your event. These are steps:

  • Find a concept

Your industry will determine the overall subject of the hackathon organisation including finance or medicine, or entertainment. You can narrow your options by focusing on a particular field, like advertising or app development or even asking an issue like “how do we improve patients’ waiting room experience?” You could pick an engaging theme like “the outdoors stories,” or “time changing tools.”

While it is important to promote the theme in general terms to draw the attention of interested participants, it is important to not divulge all the details of the challenge prior to the event

  • Determine who can be a participant

Choose whether to hold an internal hackathon that is, only employees from your company will be participating or an external hackathon, which means teams from other organizations can participate. If you host an internal hackathon you will need to choose the teams you want to invite or invite to participate.

Additionally, as your hackathon organisation Is completely online, you might think about whether you invite only residents of your country and city or if you’ll be encouraging participation across the globe.

  • Pick an event

After you’ve worked out the basic details of your virtual hackathon, you’ll be able to set the time. Hackathons usually are held on weekends however you may be able to organize the event on an evening or a weekday. This is an ideal choice for events that are internal, whereas the former can be used for events that are open to outside organizations. You should choose an event time that is suitable for your industry and your business. Remember that you’ll have to schedule time off from work so that the participants can concentrate entirely on the event.

  • Pick judges and select winners.

Before announcing the event, you must confirm the judges and determine the prizes. You should allow yourself at least a couple of weeks before the date of announcement to communicate with judges you are considering so that you don’t end up in a rush at the last minute.

  • Promote the event

Promotion is an essential aspect of hackathon organisation. It is essential to make use of social media in order to generate excitement for your event. You can make posts in appropriate online forums to promote the event. You should also consider whether you’d like to make use of ads and industry influencers to raise the word about your event. Of course, you need to mention the event on your website’s content and use campaigns for marketing via email as well.

  • Track registrations

Virtual hackathon offer greater flexibility than traditional events, but the organization aspect is still vital. Make sure you have an official registration procedure with a strict cut-off point to motivate participants to take the event as a serious event. It is recommended to limit the number of attendees so that you can organize your event effectively.

You can track the registration process to predict attendance, and you can make use of sign-ups to increase the excitement. Think about posting posts with sentiments such as “up to one hundred applicants as of this morning!” to generate more traffic.

Sign-up times can be used to plan your team by forming teams (if participants choose to sign up as individual participants instead of group members,) connecting with the participants and conducting technological tests.

  • Schedule time for enjoyment

One of the downsides to virtual hackathon is absence of face-to-face interactions as well as networking possibilities. It is possible to make up for the lack of human interaction by incorporating virtual social events in your schedule. Social activities online, such as online happy hour or games that are remote can make your event more memorable through the facilitation of human contact. 

  • Host your virtual hackathon

The time is now to organize your hackathon online. The majority of virtual hackathon follow the following guidelines:

  • Welcome
  • The introduction of prompt
  • Working hours
  • Presentations
  • Awards
  • Closing

It is also possible to include educational or social gatherings on the schedule.

Final Words

Although virtual hackathons don’t provide the same level of excitement like single-location hackathons, virtual versions inspire radical creativity, innovation, working ethic, and cooperation.

The key to evaluate the effectiveness of hackathons on the internet, or any other online event of the industry is not to evaluate the event in a never-ending way to its physical event, but to take advantage of and appreciate the advantages of the web-based event.

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