FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
After organizing and running dozens of hackathons, we discovered that the questions are always the same. So, we decided to put the most frequently asked questions together and publish them in one place. Whether you’re a corporate representative or a participant you’ll find almost all the answers below. If something’s missing, don’t hesitate to write us an email, we’ll be happy to give any additional information you didn’t find here.
Questions and answers for Corporates – sponsors of hackathons:
1. Why should we do a hackathon?
- Sourcing innovation
The nature of hacking challenges promotes an out-of-the-box approach to the work-flow. Competitive environment, when followed by an attractive prize, helps develop the best solutions in short periods of time. For large organizations in particular, hackathons can be adapted to greatly accelerate the process of digital transformation. They are less about designing new products and more about “hacking” away those old processes and ways of working.
- A new way of thinking
An internal hackathon can uncover the hidden talent within your organization. The event allows your employees to get out of their daily role and flex their creative muscles. Hosting a hackathon is also recommended if your company needs to think differently about a problem they have been struggling to solve with traditional approaches.
- Promoting diversity and teamwork
Good teams usually consist of team members with diverse backgrounds which enables them to challenge each other and come up with new, innovative ideas. Good communications skills are needed in order for this to happen. Thus it is recommended to make the hackathon open, so that everyone (external and internal) can apply and then form diverse teams to give them the best chance of success.
- Recruiting new talent
When hackathons are not held within the company, but rather open to the public, they turn into a promotional initiative that can be used to scout for new tech talents, recruit programmers, engineers, graphic designers, and others sought after profiles! Hackathons are the ultimate interview. They give you the opportunity to work directly with potential employees and see who is a good cultural fit.
- Employee retention
Employee retention can be another beneficial aspect of hackathons held within a company. Stagnation and a focus on repetitive tasks only are a major reason for employees leaving the company. When presented with an opportunity to broaden their skill set, however, they are inclined to stay in the same company as they are given more than just the pay check. They’re given an opportunity to grow.
- PR and marketing
It is simple; hackathons are great PR and generate easy but great stories to tell. They also help promote products or services of your company to a broader audience.
2. How much time and how many people we need to dedicate to the hackathon?
3. So, what do you actually do for the event?
- Workshops with the client to determine the challenges and prepare mentors /jury members.
- Design and text for the info web page with application and legal forms – both fully coordinated with the client. We prepare suggestions for the content, the client prepares the description of the challenge and rewards. Web page goes live when the client gives the “green light”.
- Preparation of the contract for the participants that clearly states who owns the IP from the hackathon and also includes GDPR related clauses. This is also submitted to the client for the final confirmation prior to publishing.
- PR communications – traditional and social media plan. Transformation Lighthouse team works hand in hand with the client in order to make the best promotion and attract the best participants. Transformation Lighthouse team also creates contents that are confirmed by the client and distributed through different media.
- Scouting for candidates: including communication with universities, youth organizations, startup community, and others. Due to extreme involvement in the startup ecosystem and youth organizations, Transformation Lighthouse team has a broad network of experienced candidates that is targeted.
- Selection of the participants and team formation: Transformation Lighthouse takes care of the interviews with the candidates, connecting and searching perfect team-fits according to the age, ideas they submit, interests, industry the candidates work in, and compatibility. Diversity in the team is necessary to achieve out-of-the-box solutions. This is why the psychology profiles are also checked. We also invite internal employees to compete, because they usually have a different insight on the topic discussed and bring valuable knowledge to their team. Ideally, we would have teams of 4-6 people, of which at least 1 member comes from the sponsor.
- A mentors’ coaching at least one day before the event: it is necessary that mentors from the client’s company are familiar with the challenge and know the basic rules how to handle teams in order to get the best results. The client has to dedicate at least 4 mentors/jury members that work in the field of the proposed challenge.
- Preparation of the proper content for the competition;
At the event:
- Registration, administration, preparation of the briefings for the teams and mentors / jury members;
- Event space with offices and relax areas;
- Snacks and drinks for both days, pizza and beer for the closing;
- Technical support – projectors, computers for presentation, microphones… and handling of it;
- Motivational activities during the event and our 36-hour presence and support to the teams, including creative team-building games indended to break the flow, raise adrenalin, and profit some hours of work, especially in the night time;
- Mentoring teams which includes preparation of business models, pitching, design thinking specifics, innovation paths and signals of the future, guiding teams to think outside of the box at all times – using the CO*STAR tool from our EDG partners.
- Evaluation of the competitors based on different psychological models that evaluates the candidates’ personal characteristics and potentials to see if there is a fit for future cooperation with you, including possible further development of the hackathon ideas. For that, we have an expert in the field and use our internally developed method – TLI evaluation.
- PR done by Transformation Lighthouse team members and competitors, done through small and fun activities Transformation Lighthouse provides during the hackathon to keep the competitors engaged;
- Diplomas for all the competitors plus 3 kappa plates for the winners for better photos & long lasting memories.
After the event:
- Package of all materials gathered from competitors – the client will get all the presentations, business cases with analysis and everything that competitors submit at the end;
- Evaluation of individuals according to the TLI method for potential future internship or job offering;
- Communication with winning teams;
- Photo album done by a professional photographer;
- A short promo video (approximately 1 min) for further public PR and internal use;
- PR done hand in hand with The Client;
- Preparation and recommendations for next steps
4. What kind of prizes should we offer?
If you have a chance, don’t forget about the rest of the participants: some T-shirts (by the way, it looks great on the promo video and photos!), pens, water bottles,… everyone appreciates a small goodie bag to take home :).
5. Are competitors really looking for job opportunities?
And don’t forget, next to your own observation at the hackathon, you’ll also receive an expert evaluation of all participants. The Transformation Lighthouse team evaluates them all individually based on the TLI method and you get these evaluations after the event.
Questions and answers for participants – competitors at hackathons:
1. Can I apply if I’m not looking for a job?
2. In the application, you have to describe your idea – how extensive does it have to be?
3. Will I be working on my own idea?
4. With whom will I be in the team?
4. Can I apply with a team?
5. How old do I need to be to participate?
6. What about education?
7. What do I need to bring with me?
8. If I stay overnight, where will I sleep?
9. How will it look like? We get the task – what then? Who is responsible for what? How do you develop the idea?
10. What about the final day?
11. Will we get the chance to develop our idea further?