For many “what?” is the first question that comes to mind when they encounter the hackathon neologism, but “why?” is a far more important and interesting question. If you have a definable problem that needs solving, a hackathon is a good idea for the following reasons, among others:
- Two heads are sometimes better than one and 15 heads are often better than five
- Hackathons bring in people with fresh perspectives and from different backgrounds
- It’s about people getting together to learn from and teach each other
- Hackathons bring people together to push each other and whatever tools, methods or technologies are used to look for solutions to the problem at hand
- It’s fun
While the above may sound like a bunch of people in a room, there’s more to it. At a hackathon, or any other situation where a group of people get together to co-create something new, chaos always lurks around the corner. An environment conducive to what you are trying to accomplish is a must. Experienced people capable of facilitating the process to produce tangible results are important, too.
Even though hackathons are organized in a number of contexts and used in different industries, they are still primarily associated with software and the IT industry. At Futurice, we’ve started experimenting different, more structured setups alongside traditional free-form hackathons. One is a service design hackathon, facilitated by professional service designers, that gathers together people with different backgrounds to create new concepts around a selected topic.
As digitalization continues to make inroads into all aspects of our lives, hackathons are among the tools we can use to ensure that the services we create actually fulfill the real needs of real users.
Our next service design hackathon, Asunto vaihtoon 2.0, will be held in cooperation with Kiinteistömaailma in January. Risto Sarvas facilitates the event using Lean Service Creation tools and Antti Rauhala will help the teams hack the data.
Would you like to join a service design hackathon? Leave us your email and we’ll keep you posted on future hackathons. Or perhaps you need help organizing a hackathon? Contact us and let’s make it happen together! Leaving a note about what you're specifically interested in is optional.
PS. Stay tuned! In early January we'll share our views on how to create a successful hackathon.