The word hackathon unites hacking and marathon. A “hackathon” is:
- a methodology for creative problem solving which can but does not have to involve technology,
- an event targeted not only to programmers and IT professionals, but to all those who are interested in new technologies who want to introduce new solutions to their everyday activities, often without special skills but with a brilliant idea in mind,
- an event of any duration where people come together to solve problems.
Tauberer (2018) summarizes: “The hacking track is for participants to dive into problems. Often groups of 2-5 individuals form around a project, such as building a new data visualization, writing a document, or collaboratively investigating a problem. Participants take out their laptops, connect to power and wifi, and get working.”. We strongly recommend reading Tauberer’s (2018) work, providing checklists and plenty of useful advise.
In the project “BalticMuseums: LoveIT!” a series of hackathons in museums was organized to feed into new gamified developments for visitor apps. These events were scheduled in Gdynia (PL), Klaipeda (LT), Malmö (SE) and Greifswald (DE). The overall organization, online promotion and expertise was provided by Netcamp in Szczecin (PL). The hackathons were all promoted under the same name “Baltathon” with uniform visuals.
The hackathon in Gdynia took place from 17 – 18 March 2018 at Experyment Science Centre. The event was hosted both by Experyment Science Centre and NMFRI Gdynia Aquarium, and co-organised by Netcamp (Szczecin, PL) and the University of Szczecin. 56 participants signed up for the hackathon, but one team did not come, and one team stopped during the first day of the hackathon.
The hackathon in Klaipeda took place from 14 – 15 April 2018 at the Lithuanian Sea Museum.
34 interested people from the Lithuanian cities Vilnius, Kaunas, and Klaipeda registered for the hackathon (55 was a maximum preferred by us). The real number of participating “coders” was 20 in addition to IT consultants. The participants were 18 – 50 years, coming for hobby and practice, being students, IT specialists and marketing people.
The setup of the hackathon in Malmö was different, being divided into a warm-up (18 September 2018), a one week working phase and the actual hackathon day (25 September 2018). 17 participants in 4 teams participated from Poland and Germany. Due to the geographical distance of most participants, the warm-up was organized via video conference. The participants could talk to the mentors and the mentors took them in a tour with a camera through the exhibition. The hackathon day was lasted six hours. The idea was, that participants could develop their idea and code at home. The actual hackathon day was planned for finalizing the work, create a final presentation, talk to museum’s workers and IT experts.
The final presentation was pitched (4 minutes) to other teams, organizers and partners.
Susanne Marx, Stralsund University of Applied Sciences
Netcamp, Document author and Hackathon organizer:
University of Szczecin:
Experiences for this document were kindly provided by Agnieszka and Justyna (Experyment Science Center), Grazyna and Weronika (NMFRI Gdynia Aquarium), Jurgita and Loreta (Lithuanian Sea Museum), Senja (Malmö Museums) and René (NaturBornholm).
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Jarvis, D. (2012) ‘MGT567 Creative Problem Solving’ [online], available: https://www.slideshare.net/dajarvis/mgt567-creative-problem-solving [accessed on 16 July 2018].
Tauberer, J. (2018) ‘How to run a successful hackathon’ [online], available: https://hackathon.guide/ [accessed on 12 June 2018].