The hackathon brings together multi-disciplinary populations surrounded by facilitators and coaches to guide them in producing innovative solutions to a problem defined beforehand.
Gilles Evrard Essuman is a youth worker who has trained, consulted and participated in a plethora of youth work projects across Europe. His field of expertise is social innovation, grassroots’ movements and non-formal education for community participation in territorial development. He’s also a doctoral researcher and lecturer in economic geography at the university of Luxembourg.
> Strengthen the community that the hackathon is for.
> Be welcoming to newcomers to the community.
> Provide an opportunity for participants to learn something new.
> Provide a space and a time for participants to make headway on problems they are interested in.
Structure of the process:
During the hackathon, participants are divided into teams of two to five people. Throughout the hackathon, the groups work on the proposed challenges. The participants also have the opportunity to participate in master classes, with the aim of developing their skills in digital technologies, innovative financing and geographic information systems.
To conclude the event, the teams present their project ideas to a jury composed of members of different partner organisations and the three best are praised by the jury and awarded with honorary prizes. Tips:
> Surrounded by facilitators and guided by the design thinking methodology, the participants will have to put all the chances on their side in order to win the final prize. Organised all over the world, the hackathon requires a particular organisation in order to ensure quality projects at the end that could evolve on a larger scale.
> The success of the event is based on a methodology that allows for stimulation and constant progress of the teams throughout the time allotted.
> Bringing together diverse and multidisciplinary populations: An innovation challenge
requires bringing together diverse populations in order to capitalise on each other’s skills and produce user-centred solutions at the end of the timeframe. The multidisciplinary nature of the teams ensures a certain level of quality of the projects at the end.
> Coaching teams throughout the challenge: teams should be coached by facilitators
throughout the challenge who will ensure that each team goes through the design thinking phases. This approach structures the hackathon and propels its effectiveness.
Skills: Good communication, a creative mind, and a deep knowledge of the various local actors.
Written by: Gilles Essuman, RESOPA, France