What is a hackathon? I won’t lie I wasn’t completely sure, in my head it was an event that techy people do trying to break into a server. Turns out it can be used for so much more than that and is effectively a creative sprint.
I saw the event advertised on Eventprofstalk twitter and debated for a while before deciding to take part. I was unsure what it would consist of and unsure if I had the skills to be able to contribute to my team (imposter syndrome strikes again). Eventually I decided what did I have to lose, it would be a good opportunity to use my brain again, and I will likely learn something new.
How did it work?
There was 50 participant signed up and we were split into teams, with 4 teams completing the hackathon in the end and submitting a business plan. The brief was to collaborate using slack with your team who you had never met before to create a business plan for an event agency in a post covid-19 era. How could you bring in income, how will travel bookings look, how can you maintain networking. All topics we had to discuss on threads, we dug into how we predict the world might look and how people will act before coming up with ideas to meet the brief and an example of how the events we put on will look.
As with all project work it takes a while for a group to ‘find their groove’ especially when you are working with people from all over the world and in different time zones. Setting up the threads on slack was a great way for anyone to contribute whenever they were able to and to the extent they felt they could. I have never written a business plan before, but it is definitely something I wanted to see an example of how to do & working with more experienced event professionals has helped me realise some of the aspects you need to consider and include.
One part I really enjoyed was hearing how others see the event world looking going forward, no one dismissed anyones views we all learnt from each other and used these ideas to then create the solutions. Once the discussions were complete we pulled out our key points for each part of the brief into a google doc and then proceeded to add any further points we would want included in the final plan. We then used one of my favourite tools Canva to create the final document, the presentation templates on here are far superior to powerpoint etc and you can create your own branded ones.
I will definitely be taking this idea of a hackathon back to the office, I guess its similar to a design sprint but more fitting to the event market. You could gather your team together for one day to create your next pitch or your strategy for the year.