Educational Hackathons – A breakthrough!

When I first was hired by Aventus in 2017 I was asked to organise their first Creathon – And it was a hit! I found out that breaking away from the ‘safe’ school bubble is important; It builds new confidence and a new professional attitude in students. When you leave the school grounds behind for a day, it is often an experience that generally sticks with you!

After that I co-organized several Creathons where multi-disciplinary student teams got three days to explore their skills in a societal context guided by the method of Design Thinking. Empathy, brainstorming (- with agroup) and a hands-on (prototyping) mentality are listed as important skills for the professionals of tomorrow. Through Hackathons the students get to explore these topics in a fun and functional way. 

My view on Hackathon organisation

During a Hackathon, my most important task is to coach the students to really engage with the process and context. Working with new people from different disciplines is never easy and it also takes guts to function in a competitive and new environment. That’s why I start with a focus on creative confidence and team bonding. Being exposed to the hackathon fever does the rest!

A good hackathon has an energy network of various experts, that are all there to share their knowledge. I have no problem reaching out for help and involving local artists, professional designers/ policymakers/ caretakers, yoga instructors, and so on. Where needed, I also assisted them in preparing their workshops. This was mostly focused on making sure that the content suits the student audience. When there is no expert available for pitching, storytelling, or boosting creative confidence I perform the workshops myself. 

I often took charge of the planning and organisational process. It is one of my strengths to swiftly create an overview and turn it into approachable steps. I also enjoyed doing a bit of graphic design on creating guide books for the student. To improve my work I would reach out to students, hackaton experts and teachers of the departments that would join us. Creating a positive vibe on a project with this amount of uncertainty took time. 

Organisation and communication of Hackathons

Lastly I would like to make clear that I don’t want to turn everyone into a designer with hackathons. I just strongly value non-designers as team members in design projects. Zooming in and out continuously, I have a clear overview of the information and thus can translate and tailor steps to different needs. This makes me a valuable asset to teamwork. If you want to set up a similar project, don’t hesitate to reach out! I love to be part of your team and help where I can!

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