Blog 22/02

Drive innovation and attract young talent by organising a hackathon!

Your organisation is urgently looking for creative and innovative concepts. You have plenty of ideas, but would like to involve your clients in the process as well. Being able to make young talent excited about your organisation would be a plus, and it would be even better if the event were able to effect an internal process of change. How can you achieve all of these aims at once? The answer is very simple: organise a hackathon! We’ve compiled a list of the most important FAQs for you.


What is a hackathon?

A hackathon is an event where people come together to solve a problem. Within a predetermined number of hours (usually 8, 24, or 48 hours), this pressure cooker environment will produce workable ideas. The perfect way to drive innovation!

Who organises hackathons?

Companies such as Netflix, Facebook and Google organise internal hackathons to come up with new products. For example, the Like button on Facebook was conceived during one of these sessions. Hackathons are also frequently organised in the Netherlands, such as by Accenture and SNS bank.

DeFabrique hosted an Accenture hackathon on March 24th. The theme was ‘ALS Data Challenge’ and the aim was to come up with new insights for further ALS research.

Why is a hackathon better than a brainstorming session?

The duration, intensity, and objective of a hackathon create a unique atmosphere, focus, and involvement. People of various ages with various levels of experience and from various fields come together and give it their all to actually achieve something. A hackathon goes far beyond a regular brainstorming session and can result in something like a website or a mobile app.

What are the success factors of a hackathon?

This type of event is the perfect way to connect employees and clients in a pleasant way, come up with and realise many creative and innovative ideas in a short amount of time, learn new skills from co-workers or people in other fields, network with professionals within and outside of the organisation, attract young talent, present your organisation as a transparent and innovative one, explore new business models, and reinforce team spirit.

Where can I organise such an event?

A hackathon is the ultimate chaos event and is excellently suited to DeFabrique due to its format and innovative character. The industrial decor of our old mixed feed factory stir the imagination and provides the participants with optimal stimulus to come up with new ideas. We have plenty of space to set up camp beds and will regularly provide your guests with new energy by way of food, drink, and entertainment.

How do I organise a hackathon?

Say you want to organise a hackathon; what kinds of things should you take into account?

1. Objective
Make sure you formulate a clear objective, so that you can invite the right people and so that everyone knows exactly what they are working towards.

2. Venue
Find a venue that has enough space to address lage groups and have various teams work together. A comfortable atmosphere is also very important. On top of that, take into account the overnight stay; is there enough space to set up camp beds or tents?

3. Date
Choose a weekend day and announce the date at least two months in advance so that most of the people you invite will be able to attend.

4. Wi-Fi
The available Wi-Fi network is hugely important. A 4MB ADSL connection won’t cut it. A hackathon requires a rock-solid Wi-Fi network

5. Food & drink
Your participants will be dedicatedly working on the job at hand and will not have time to settle down for a bite to eat. Junk food like pizza would seem obvious, but everyone will perform better on healthy food instead.

6. Security
When you invite technology whizzes, you will find that they prefer for their equipment to be properly protected, even when they leave their workstations for a bit. Thus, make sure there is plenty of security and take out ironclad insurance.