In short, the single most important element is to make the kickoff and intro speeches as short as possible, and the hacking time as long as possible. There is never enough hacking time at a Hackathon event, so don’t waste the hackers’ time!
Keep it as short as you possibly can: Welcome; Health & Safety (fire exits and procedure); Reminder of the mission; how to get help; Start your hacking!!
Tell them that they can have a demo stand at the side, and that you will promote them on the Hackathon Website. Do not let them prolong the introduction!
Specifics for designing the best Hack Event Schedule
General Hack Event Design Guidance:
- Two days is a good length for a Hack Event, but people run them longer and shorted – it depends what you want.
- Keep the intros short – 30 mins MAX.
- Thank everyone for making the time to participate.
- If you have sponsors, set them up with a demo stand at the side. DO NOT make your participants sit through long promotional powerpoint presentations.
- Provide all event information on posters on the wall, or ideally on a public website.
Example Hackathon Schedule for a 2 Day Hack:
|09:30 AM||Registration opens – provide light breakfast for those who are hungry|
|10:00 AM||Welcome! – quick hello, intro, wifi details, “toilets and fire exits”, health & safety, and *run through today’s schedule|
|10:10 AM||“The Reason Why We are All Here” – plus overview of the challenge(s) by someone impressive (a celeb in your field, ideally)|
|10:20 AM||LET THE HACKING BEGIN! – everyone gets started, and we refrain from interrupting them any further|
|(During the morning you may want to run “Tech Talks” from those who are bringing ideas to the event, and from your sponsors. MAKE THESE OPTIONAL – e.g. “Speaker’s Corner”. Do not force people to sit through them – they just want to get on and to HACK)|
|01:00 PM||Lunch is provided|
|03:00 PM||Audience Feedback sessions – provide a service to test your participants’ prototypes with target audience|
|06:00 PM||Team progress report – quick “around the room” standup; each team shares a quick summary of what they are doing, and the MC asks them if there’s anything they need|
|07:00 PM||The Venue closes for the night|
|(you may want to select a pub/bar where participants can socialise, grab some food etc, if they want to)|
|08:00 AM||Registration – reopen for participants on Day Two|
|10:00 AM||Book your Demo slot – Participants register their “hacks” and sign up for a pitching slot|
|11:00 AM||How to make your Pitch – Optional session to get help with Pitching techniques. The pitching slots are short, so they need to prepare, and be told “this is your only chance to influence the judges”|
|01:00 PM||Lunch is provided|
|01:45 PM||Hacking Ends – get people off their tables, and into the seating for the demos at 14:00|
|02:00 PM||PITCH SESSIONS – all teams will have 2-3 mins (plus Q&A) to present their hacks to the judging panel and other teams|
|(We invite press and key people from participating organisations to attend the pitch sessions. Be sure to manage numbers here)|
|04:00 PM||The judges retire to decide the winners – drinks are provided for the participants|
|04:30 PM||Prizegiving & quick “Thank You” speech|
|05:00 PM||Close – you may want to select a pub/bar where participants can socialise, grab some food etc, if they want to|
Short on time?
Use these templates to help with business best practice:
- Hack Day Event
- Hackathon Event
- Hackathon Planning and Delivery
- SWAG - Merch, Gifts and Keepsakes for Hack Event Participants
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