STATE OF HACKATHONS (2018)

the ultimate playbook for conducting hackathons

A survey report based on a study of 200+ organizations.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

TOP 8 HACKATHON TRENDS IN 2018

Choose the Right Hackathon Partner

‘Right Technology to Conduct Platforms’ is one of the Top 3 Challenges of organizations.

Is an Investment, Not An Expense

On an average, organizations spend 8.55 Lacs/Hackathon in a year.

Attract an Organic Pool of Participants

22% of organizations find ‘Relevant & Large Participation’ as biggest challenge.

Measuring the Business Impact is Critical

42% of organizations use ‘Quality of Ideas/Innovations’ as ROI metric.

Is an Investment, Not An Expense

On an average, organizations spend 8.55 Lacs/Hackathon in a year.

Attract an Organic Pool of Participants

22% of organizations find 'Relevant & Large Participation' as biggest challenge.

Measuring the Business Impact is Critical

42% of organizations use 'Quality of Ideas/Innovations' as ROI metric.

Organizations believe in them

30% increase in the number of Hackathons conducted in year 2017 compared to 2016.

Powerful ‘Branding’ Tool

‘Branding’ comes out to be the key reason for which organizations are using Hackathons.

Focus on Identifying the Right Theme

‘Diversity’ & ‘Business Situation’ becoming popular themes for Hackathons.

Promise of Awards attracts Participants

43% of participants attend ‘Hackathons’ for Fame/Resume Glory.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

WHAT IS A HACKATHON?

Hackathon is an event where a bunch of people come together for a specified period, generally 24-48 hours or even more, and build something cool. It could be around a platform or maybe around a specific language or framework or even to solve some business problem. It could be one of those code sprints that are especially popular for open source projects.

Hackathons can broadly be categorized into two types Internal (Organized for internal employees) & External Hackathons (Host participants from outside the workplace)

Benefits of Conducting Hackathons

External Hackathons

Crowdsource Ideas

Get technology updates and understand new business models

Create a strong employer brand

Provide a seamless experience to create a strong brand recall

Hire the best talent

Roll-out job offers and seek freelancers

Internal Hackathons

Engage your employees

Nurture problem-solving skills and cross team collaboration

Foster Internal Innovation

Push your employees to explore their creative boundaries

Accelerate Product Roadmap

Get multiple working prototypes in a short span of time

TOP REASONS

ORGANIZATIONS USE HACKATHONS MAJORLY FOR BRANDING!

Over the last few years, the word hackathon has become massively popular not just in tech-circles but across industries too. As hackathon culture has widely spread in the last decade, so has the objective and theme.

On inquiring about their prime objective of conducting Hackathons, organizations considered branding as the most popular reason

Top 3 reasons to conduct hackathon:

1Branding

2Hiring Top Talent

3Product Innovation

What are the top reasons behind conducting Hackathons?



Across Industries too, Hackathons Accelerating Corporate Branding

Branding/Thought Leadership
Business Innovation
Product Innovation
Branding/Thought Leadership
Hiring Top Talent
Social Welfare
Branding/Thought Leadership
Employee Engagement
Branding/Thought Leadership
Product Innovation
Branding/Thought Leadership
Product Innovation

Small Organizations Mainly Use Hackathons to Hire Top Talent

Well, hiring the right person has always been a sensitive issue and close to organizations' heart. Where modern recruitment tools such as assessments have assisted in simplifying the process, the use of Hackathons as a recruitment tool has contributed manifold.

In India too, there has been a sea-change in how organizations hire developers. The era of scanning extensive resumes, 6-7 rounds of annoying questions like 'Why do you feel you are a good fit for this job?' are taking a backseat. Great Hires can easily be spotted at a hackathon.

THEMES FOR HACKATHONS

‘DIVERSITY’ & ‘BUSINESS SITUATION’ ARE BECOMING POPULAR THEMES FOR HACKATHONS

Traditionally, hackathons were held in the IT sector.

However, this is no longer true. Organizations in sectors as diverse as Banking, Retail, and Healthcare have also started hosting hackathons to address innovation, branding, hiring or employee engagement. Accordingly, they have begun experimenting with different kind of themes

Organizations prefer using ‘New Age Technologies’ as theme for Hackathons, ‘Business Situation’ and other ‘Diverse’ themes are following suit.

*Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence, IoT, AR/VR and Block Chain are considered as new-age technologies.

*Multi-discipline referred to all those hackathons which has no specific domain but just requires participants to build hacks.

Which are the most popular themes to conduct Hackathons on?

SPEND

ORGANIZATIONS ARE SHELLING OUT HUGE SUMS ON ‘HACKATHONS’

We asked the Hackathon Organizers about spends on

Hackathons, some of the insights that came out are:

8.55L
On an average, organizations spend 8.55 Lacs/ Hackathon in a year.
0-5L
63% of small sized companies spend somewhere b/w 0-5 Lakhs/Hackathon.
>15L
50% of large sized companies spend around 15+ lakhs/hackathon.

How much do you spend on per Hackathon?

CHALLENGES

FOR ORGANIZATIONS ‘RELEVANT & LARGE PARTICIPATION’ IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE, WHILE FOR PARTICIPANTS IT IS ‘LACK OF CLARITY ON CHALLENGE’

Organizers- What are the biggest challenges you face while organizing a Hackathon?

Attracting relevant & large number of Participants

Getting a Sponsor/Budget

Right Technology to conduct Hackathon

Venue/Logistics

Proving Return on Investment (ROI)

Identifying Themes

Participants- What were the main challenges that you have faced while participating in Hackathons?

No clarity on what needs to be done

The event was too long

Poor support on any queries

Forming a team

Lost interest after sometime

ROADMAP TO A SUCCESSFUL HACKATHON

6- STEP GUIDE TO CONDUCTING A HACKATHON

TIP 1 - Focus on Identifying the appropriate theme.

Organizer- What did you focus most on while conducting a Hackathon?

Identifying themes

Relevant & large no. of participants

Venue/Logistics/Jury

Getting a Sponsor/Budget

Right Technology

Proving Return on Investment (ROI)

As per our survey results, 22% of organizations who have successfully conducted Hackathons focused on ‘Identifying themes’ before planning/conducting a Hackathon

Articulate a clear goal for the hackathon.

  • Objective of doing a hackathon-Yes, it’s important. Start by outlining the objectives of your event before you begin planning. What are you trying to accomplish? Whether you are seeking to find solutions, engage the community, scout talent, etc.
  • Identify themes well-in-advance-Every hackathon has a theme- whether it’s to bring together all technology interns to hire the best or to develop some solutions for the next best mobile app for any city’s weather condition predictions.

TIP 2 - Bridge the Gap & Design a Hackathon for the relevant Participants.

Organizers- How do you conduct Hackathons? Participants- What mode of Hackathons do you prefer?

As per the survey, organizations generally conduct Online Hackathons followed by Blended mode. However, participants prefer Blended (Online + Offline) Hackathons the most.

Design a Hackathon

  • Type of Hackathon(Internal/External/Both)
  • Mode of Hackathon(Online/Blended)
  • Number of Rounds to keep (1/2/3 or more)
  • Type of Questions(MCQs/Case-Studies)
  • Duration of the Event(Less than a day or more)

TIP 3 - Though Difficult, Organizations Should Build Organic Pool of Candidates.

Organizer- What was your biggest challenge while conducting a Hackathon?

Attracting relevant & large number of Participants

Getting a Sponsor/Budget

Right Technology to conduct Hackathon

Venue/Logistics

Proving Return on Investment (ROI)

Identifying Themes

Attracting Large and Relevant Talent.

How?

  • Create a customized marketing plan.
  • Uniform messaging across all channels
  • Build an Organic Pool

When we asked Hackathon Organizers about their biggest challenge while conducting a Hackathon, 22% of them complained about ‘Large and Relevant Participation’.

TIP 4 - ‘Right Technology’ is a key to a successful Hackathon

Organizers- What are the biggest challenges you face while organizing a Hackathon?

Attracting relevant & large number of Participants

Getting a Sponsor/Budget

Right Technology to conduct Hackathon

Venue/Logistics

Proving Return on Investment (ROI)

Identifying Themes

Take Care of Logistics

  • Technology Platform – Give Seamless Experience to Participants.
  • (Wi-Fi) - Strong Network performance is a must.
  • Venue - Arrange a venue of appropriate size for an offline event.
  • Sponsors & Workshops – For better and more skilled participations.
  • Food - To keep all participants productive and engaged.

‘Right Technology to conduct Platforms’ is still one of the top 3 challenges of organizations who conduct Hackathons.[Survey]

TIP 5 - ‘Relevant’ Awards attract participants.

Participants - What do you think is the best reward for the Hackathons?

Fame/Resume Glory

Gifts

Networking

When we asked the participants on what would they prefer as a reward in Hackathons, 43% of them clearly chose Fame/Resume Glory.

Felicitate the Winners

Remember, Hackathon participants attend these events for a variety of reasons. They could be any or many of the below:

  • To learn new skills
  • To put new skills to practice
  • To meet other people in their field
  • To have fun!
  • To meet and learn from more experienced people
  • To experiment with new datasets, APIs, or other tools
  • To gain recognition
  • To win prizes!

TIP 6 - ‘Measuring Business Impact’ is Critical

How do you measure the success of your Hackathon?

Quality of Ideas/Innovations

No. of Ideas/Innovations

No. of Registrations/Participation

Participant Satisfaction

42% Hackathon Organizers measure the success of the Hackathon with the ‘Quality of Ideas/Innovations’ received in a Hackathon.

Post Contest Analysis/Measuring ROI

Clearly, there is no reason to leap into hackathons blindly.Where identifying clear objectives is the first step in positioning your hackathon, the 'output' equally remains a critical point. Hence, make sure you pick some bold objectives to strive towards, and they're trackable.

METHODOLOGY

AN ASSORTMENT OF HR, L&D PROFESSIONALS, TECH LEADS & CTO’S COMPLETED THIS YEAR’S STATE OF HACKATHONS SURVEY

We are fortunate to have a balanced representation of large industry leaders and small start-ups. This ensures that our Survey results reflect a valuable mix of perspectives. From mid-April until the end of September 2018, Mettl even ran an online survey to uncover the issues and trends in this space.

The survey was designed for organizations who conduct Hackathons across all geographies in the Indian subcontinent (North, South, East, West - Also Metropolitan, Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities).

More than 200+ respondents spanning VP/SVP/EVP, C-suite, director, manager and individual contributor levels completed the survey.

Industry Participation

Tech

Retail

Manufacturing

Consulting

Health

Size of Companies

Large

Small

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Mettl is one of the largest and fastest growing online talent measurement solutions provider globally, and has been at the forefront of online assessment technology since its inception in 2010. We enable organizations to build winning teams by taking credible people decision across two keys areas: Talent Acquisition and Development.

80+

COUNTRIES

2000+

CLIENTS

27+

INDUSTRIES

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