The secret to a successful hackathon

Hackathons are an in-vogue option for organisations looking to inject new ideas into their plans right now. But not all hackathons are made equal. So what can you do to ensure yours actually succeeds?

Two industry experts, Kevin Lewis and Lewis Westbury, will share their combined wisdom at Losing Control.

Kevin Lewis is a full-time consultant who advises private sector businesses on how to establish hackathons which attract and retain great developers, and deliver innovative prototypes.

Lewis Westbury runs Hack the Police and Police:rewired, which invites developers to re-imagine policing for the 21st Century. He has a wealth of experience in building a long-term, sustainable community of developers who are willing to help social causes.

“Developers are often highly engaged in civic life and want something worthwhile to work on. But the key is giving developers a way to play around with ideas without them feeling too tied in or dictated to,” he said. “A big goal of Hack The Police, and something we’ll be talking about on the day, is trying to build a real community around these events and the organisations themselves.”

Describing the outline for the session, Kevin Lewis said:

“Our session is for those wishing or planning a hackathon for their organisation, calling, or cause. It’s broken into two parts: First we’ll talk about the basics, common pitfalls and powerful lessons we’ve learned as we set about organising our own community hackathons.

Second, we’ll form groups around hackathon organising needs and stumbling blocks of our audience (or present scenarios for those just here to learn), and then facilitate each group to workshop their ideas.”

Lewis Westbury added: “Hackathons are about creating space for innovation and giving people at the coalface the environment to suggest solutions and try things out. I believe good ideas filter from the bottom up – a sentiment I’m sure is shared by all participants Losing Control.”

Get more info on Lewis and Kevin’s session ‘Hackathons for Civic Good’ and the rest of the programme here